My Blogging Essentials

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Alright y’all I’m going to be real with you I don’t particularly love blogging tutorials.   They usually are nothing ground breaking and I feel like I wasted 10 minutes of my life by reading them.  I always get sucked in on Pinterest with pretty pictures like this

I am no veteran blogger by any means but I am all about efficiency and these are my essentials to make life that much easier.

For Making Collages- Blogstomp

First and foremost get Blogstomp.  It was seriously the BEST investment I ever spent for the blog.  I was initially turned off by the $50 price tag but I found a coupon code (naturally) and it is the biggest time saver ever.  Basically it takes your very large photos and “stomps” them to a much smaller size but it maintains the high quality of them.  Therefore your page will load much faster. You can also set your width so all the pictures are the same.  Also if you want to watermark all your pics when you “stomp it” it adds the watermark wherever you want it to.  I use to use Pic Monkey because it was free but this seriously is so much faster and easier.  Plus when you want to make collages it is insanely easy.  For example.

Here are my pictures from the recent Fall Outfits I was digging post.  They are all very large files because I took it with my DSLR camera.  So you open them all and the grab the ones you want to put into a collage.  Pick the collages on the right you like the best and you can even mix it up (rearrange how the pictures go into the collage).

Then “stomp it” and voila a beautiful collage, perfect width and maintains the quality with a small size.  You can adjust how much of a line thickness you want.  I prefer no line but that is preference.  I didn’t like what a thick line picmonkey would add, I found it distracting for me.
For Editing and Adding Text – Photoshop
Now I don’t think having photoshop makes or breaks my blog to tell you the truth.  However my brother is an AV Engineer and the last time he was down in Florida this is what he put on my computer.  Seriously I have no clue what 98% of these are…..but thanks for all the expensive software.
This is how I add all my sweet witty text to my pictures.
Once again I don’t think it’s essential but I have it already so why not use it.  I found a great alternative which is free.  It’s called Pixlr and it’s very similar to photoshop.  What I love about it you can actually crop circles…..which in photoshop there is only an ellipse tool which is so fun to try to make perfect round circles for an OCD individual like myself.  I would say play around with pixlr and if you really like it and find it useful then upgrade to photoshop when you outgrow the functions within Pixlr.
Also I will tell you sometimes photoshop gets exhausting.  When I really want to edit something quickly I upload my pictures on iPhone apps because they have the most perfect built in filters that cut down the editing process.  I like Afterlight and Instagram has fun filters.
Lifehack learned from Helene.  If you are using Instagram but don’t want to upload all your pictures, turn your phone into airplane mode.  When you go to “upload” it will fail but save to your camera roll.  That way your Instagram friends don’t need to see every makeup selfie you’ve ever created if you catch  my drift…..
If You Want To Take The Pretty Pictures – DSLR Camera
 
Once again it really is a pain in the butt.  However look at the difference between the fancy camera and the iPhone.
The iPhone is soooooo much easier (and a higher likelihood of someone agreeing to take your blog pictures) but you can’t deny the beautiful pictures the big honking camera takes.  What that said you have to get a good lens.  This new lens has made all the difference.  I’m not saying go out and buy it right now but it is certainly something you may want to consider if you want to continue to grow your blog.  People like visually pretty pictures.  If that is not in your cards right now get good at taking iPhone pictures and work with those filters and apps.
If you really want to fancy it up…
 
I got a tripod and a light reflector thing.  When I have all the time in the world I use them but usually I don’t have time for that. The light reflector hasn’t made it out of the box yet but I have big plans for it……
A Handsome Assistant
 
Just kidding but eventually you are going to have to get none selfie pictures.  I really want to recruit a photography student from the local college but then you have to like schedule time with them blah blah blah.  Any local followers know of any newbie photographers?  Having a significant other or friend take your pictures is super helpful and time saving.  It took me 20 times to get a picture of my makeup photoshoot (it’s hard to get makeup swatches on your hand right???) vs the two attempts it took Mark to do it.
Here is my key to getting man help.  Make sure they are fed (thank you Pamela).….give them a reference time, (they don’t do well when you spring upon them “right now you need to get up and take pictures of me for the blog”).  Instead “Sunday around 6 when you are done with your fantasy draft and I’ve made you a snack……can we take some blog pictures????“.  So far that has worked……
Last Note – Have Patience
A lot of things I’ve learned about blogging has been through trial and error.  I have watched a lot of youtube videos on photoshop and countless of hours shifting through pinterest.  When in doubt I ask some of my blogging friends what they do. Being humble and asking for help you will be surprised how awesome this community is when it comes to resources and ideas! Also your blog is always changing and growing.  When I look back at my beginning posts I internally cringe but in all fairness I haven’t even hit my first year mark and I’m still learning every day!
Alright there you have it!  Do you use any of these things for your blog?  What essentials do you use that you can’t live without?  I hope you learned something and we can all share some of our secrets of the trades ;-)  Hope you’re having a fabulous day!! xoxoxo
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44 responses to “My Blogging Essentials”

  1. Ok, so now you’ve got me thinking about getting this Blog Stomp program! I agree, I usually waste time on Pinterest looking at dumb blogging articles but you know what, this had some good information! Totally pinning this for later :)

  2. Kiki says:

    Thanks for sharing Blog Stomp! I am always attempting to do those things in In Design but it never works out for me. And awesome tip about Instagram!

  3. I use PhotoScape for my collages and if I want a cool border on my pictures. It´s pretty good and free! It also has some photo filters, but I don´t like those too much.
    and oh my lord! you have all the adobe programs ever made! hahaha i would be in heaven, because i love figuring out how each work. tell your brother to come to Spain and work his computer-tech magic on my laptop LOL ;)

  4. Great tip girl!!! I tried photoshop and it was just too hard for me – I use PicMonkey :) I think patience is key – while I don’t do many fashion posts – I totally agree, having something a little higher quality than the iPhone will make for higher quality photos!! I’m going to need to find a code for BlogStomp…off to do research lol!!

  5. I’ve never heard of BlogStomp but I’m definitely going to have to look into that! And I still need to upgrade my lens but I don’t want to spend the money wahhhh! Oh and I don’t know why I never thought of using those light reflector things before. Although then I’d need another assistant to hold them… Hmm…

    <3, Pamela
    sequinsandseabreezes.blogspot.com

  6. I have never heard of Blogstomp, I will have to look at that. My blog is full of iPhone pictures. Meh. Haha! Chris has a fancy camera but I dont really ever see me carrying it around to use it. Or know how to use it. I have photoshop and no patience, so it doesn’t get put to use either haha. Oops, horrible blogger over here! At least your tips are useful, most people are like to be a good blogger, answer comments. Yeah, no duh! Even though some people still dont do that….

  7. P!nky says:

    AWESOME POST! Thanks for sharing your tips!!!

  8. i love these tips. i go the cheap route for everything (read: free because this cheap chinawoman gots no time to be dishing out money for shizz):

    collage/basic photo editing: picmonkey.
    for fancy collages, photovisi
    both are free :D

    photo editing – pixlr.com. basically, it’s free photoshop. you can do pretty much everything as PS and it’s all accessible via online.

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

  9. I use Pickmonkey and Pixlr but haven’t heard of BlogStomp. I’ll have to check it out. Patience is key.

  10. good tips! i have photoshop too but it can be a lot of work. hashtag lazy. and yay for new iphone which helps ha

    cheshirekatblog.com

  11. Maybe you could find a fellow local blogger and take pictures for each other? All good tips!

  12. hahah everyone needs a handsome assistant! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  13. Ashley says:

    I’m still working on mastering Photoshop. It requires so much patience!

  14. this is probably one of the best “tips for blogging” posts i’ve read in awhile. i’ve seen many, many of them, but they are all the SAME THING. “content! interact with the followers! post pretty pictures!” but i like that you’ve taken this a step further. i want to check out #1 but i’ll have to search around for a coupon code too :) p.s. can you teach us how to use this light filter thingy??

  15. Question…. Can you take images of clothes (from Nordstrom but in your downloads folder) and use them in Blogstomp? If so, I’m SOLD!!!

  16. Look at you, professional blogger!! Love all of these tips and saving them for future use. That Instagram airplane mode tip is genius, thank you for that!

  17. Great post! I don’t know what I’m still learning this whole blogging thing so thank you for sharing this! I hope that you are having a great day so far too. :-)

  18. Love this- super helpful! I have never heard of the first one and I do believe I need to invest as well. Great tool to have! Thanks girl! xoxo

  19. awesome post! I actually like blogging tutorials, but agree sometimes it’s stuff I already know! i agree- having an assisstant is very very helpful!! lol

  20. Kristen says:

    interesting – I want a fancy camera one day but for now I’m happy with what I have. I’ll keep these in mind though!

  21. Melanie says:

    Awesome! I’ll need to try BlogStomp!

  22. Rebecca Jo says:

    I have my DSLR cameras but end up using my phone more often then not :)

  23. awhite says:

    Awesome tips, babe! I need to check out Blogstomp!
    :)

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

  24. Julia says:

    Thanks so much for the tips, these are great and really helpful! I totally agree about not being afraid to ask for help, I have been so amazed at how helpful and sweet the blogging community is! I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, and listening to people who are successful at what you want to be successful at!

  25. Tracey says:

    I hadn’t heard about this blogstomp program until now! It looks pretty awesome.

  26. I hadn’t heard about blogstamp! I wonder if it will make the pics better for my mobile readers… I’m having this issue where everything looks dandy on my laptop and when I pull my site up on my phone it looks blurry. Grrr! Then when I pin the image, it’s normal again. So either my mobile plug in sucks, or my pics suck… Or both, I guess!

  27. MarlaJan says:

    Handsome Assistant for the win!!!! Steve does a lot of web design freelance work so he was abl to put Photoshop on my computer. I can do a few things, but haven’t mastered it yet. I have a dSLR, but I’m too freaking lazy to ever use it. But, then I see how amazing your blog looks, and I feel inspired to put in a little more effort. Girl, I don’t know where you find the time, the discipline, the motivation to do everything you do….

  28. I actually played with the Blogstomp trial this weekend, but I felt lost :( I would LOVE to be able to edit and watermark all the photos at once!

  29. Erin LFF says:

    Photoshop tip of the day— if you use the ellipse tool, just hold down shift and it DOES make a perfect circle :)

  30. I’ll check out blogstomp!

    I hate photoshop. I have it through work and it drives me insane.

  31. Aah WANT/NEED a “real” camera like nobody’s business. I love how you offer help and actually useful information. You’ve been a lifesaver to me!

  32. Thanks for the heads up on all if these programs. I’m a newbie too and there’s always so much to learn! I’ve been thinking on getting a lens for my iPhone, that’s where all of my pictures come from – it’s just so much more convenient

  33. alyssa says:

    Great tips, thanks for sharing :) I have to invest in a real camera… one of these days!

  34. hahaha to not springing it upon the assistant……. i’m totally guilty of that. i need a fancy camera! i’m still stuck on the iphone train…..

  35. I’ve been having my DSLR for nearly two years now and I have sadly neglected the poor thing. I really need to have more patience with it! I’ve always used PicMonkey for collages, but I’m always looking to try something new. I’ll have to give Blogstomp a try. Another good one I like is Ribbit.

  36. Tami says:

    UGH show me a blogger who has mastered getting their man to take photos without complaints! does such a thing even exist?

  37. I need to up my picture game PERIOD. Most of my shit comes from online… I hate how I look in a majority of pictures so I don’t like to be in them. But it really does add a PERSONAL touch.

  38. Becky M says:

    Loved this!! The handsome assistant made me laugh out loud – my handsome assistant is still in training :)

    http://www.madeintheshadeblog.com

  39. These are great tips! Thank you!
    ~Elise @ highheelsglitteringeyes.blogspot.com

  40. Stacy G says:

    Thanks for the tips!! I’d really like to get a fancy camera! Oh and love the airplane mode tip. That’s awesome and I never would have thought of it! XO

  41. Aimee Rose says:

    Love your tips! I’m still trying to figure out how to handle my dslr, I’ll have to check out the blogstomp. I’m always searching for coupon codes!

  42. Meghan says:

    Fantastic tips! I love the airplane mode tip! I’m dying for a DSLR, but I’m afraid I’d forget to bring it with me. I’m also super self conscious about my outfits so I’ve gotta get over that. Thanks for these though! :) xo

  43. I definitely will be purchasing Blogstomp! Do you use Blogstomp for your makeup/clothing collages as well? Or photoshop?

  44. Kay R. says:

    Great tips! Im a pic monkey diehard myself!! haha

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