Photo A Day 2017 Week 1

Earlier this week I decided that I needed to start using my dSLR more often so I've been lugging it around with me for the past week. And I'll be honest, it's been so long that I've actually taken photos with it that I've almost forgot to take photos on a couple of days, but I'm slowly getting back into it. So bear with me for the first couple of weeks as I get a handle on taking photos again. Honestly, this Mental Floss article was the inspiration behind picking up the camera again. So every Monday, I plan to show you my week in photos. I don't intend to post the stories behind them or any other notes, just photos for the sake of photos. 

So here's to week one being down and 51 weeks more to go! 

Palm Trees; California; Sunshine

Birds of Paradise

Hollywood; Villa


Max Ammo; Girl and Cat


Max Ammo; Orange Tabby

Latte Art; Barista; Starbucks

Amanda ❤

How To Write on Photos Without A Tablet

We've all seen those photos with handwritten elements, right? Did the blogger tell you that you needed a tablet to be able to have the same effect? Guess what? That's not the only way to achieve that effect. Today I'm going to show you how to get the handwriting effect on your photos without needing fancy equipment to do so. 

For this, all you'll need is: Sheet of paper, marker, Photoshop, scanner

I'm running CS4, for reference. 

Scan Document
Select Image
File Place
Handwriting on Photos

So as you'll notice I was looking at the Tracy Reese SS14 show while doing this, but don't mind that. Hahaha. 

I don't have software to make a screencast so I made a GIF instead but I'm going to explain the steps to you as well so you don't go away all confused and still not know how to get this done, deal? 

  1. Write your message/saying on a white piece of paper using a thick marker. Any color will do, but I just used a black Sharpie for the sake of it. You can do this for hand drawn elements as well such as doodles or whatnot. 
  2. Scan. In your scanning platform you should be able to select parts of the image that you actually want to scan. Super beneficial if you want to get individual elements or if you've messed up a couple of times beforehand. Also, remember to change the resolution from 72dpi to something higher if you don't want your image to be too grainy or pixelated. 72dpi is the bare minimum for computer screens so if you want something more crisp, raise the resolution. 
  3. Since the title of this post is 'Writing on photos' I'm just going to assume there's a picture that you want to add this writing to. Once that image is open go to File>place. Select the scanned image, then click 'place' when the little diaglog box pops up. 
  4. The next step can be done two ways. Way 1: Layer > Convert to smart image. Go back to Layer > Rasterize. Way 2: Layer >Rasterize > Layer. 
  5. Next select the Magic Wand on the side bar. Click onto the scanned image and little 'marching ants' should appear around the perimeter of the image and around your writing. Hit 'Delete' and the background will disappear. To get rid of the 'marching ants' simply hit Command+D. Next, if there are any loops in your image the background will still appear in those spaces. Repeat until the background is completely removed. What should remain is what you've written. 
  6. Next, if you want to enlarge or reduce your scanned image, go to Edit >Transform> Scale. Now you can make it smaller or larger. 

There you have it. Step by step instructions. If you have a tablet, that's fine but you have to get used to writing with it and it may seem awkward in the beginning. Honestly, even though there's more steps, this just seems much more easier to me. 

Writing on Photos Final Image
And just because I love my niece and nephew, here's a gratuitious picture of him. (Notice how the edges are pixelated? I didn't raise the resolution to my scan.) 

If you try this, let me know how it goes for you! 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

4 Ways to Hide Identity in Photos

Bloggers love to take photos. That's pretty much a given. We like to talk about our wonderful, fantastic, oh-so-fun lives, but there's the ever present Internet rule of, "Pictures, or it didn't happen." Pictures of our significant others, friends, family, latest project, what you ate last Tuesday and that cute dog you saw walking down the street. OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

We're very open about our lives, but we don't take into consideration other people's attitudes towards such openess. They may be fine with taking pictures for personal reasons but not so fine if they're going to be posted Online, and sometimes we may REEEEAAALLLY want to get a picture of that person. You could also be taking pictures of a child. Their parent may be fine with you taking pictures of them as long as their faces aren't shown. 

Don't fret though!  There is a happy medium. You get your picture of mister (or miss) PrivatePants, and they get their privacy.  

Here I'll show you four different ways to hide a person's identity in photos. 

  1. Cropping


Cropping is one of the easiest ways to hide a person's identity in photos. Cropping is essentially selecting a desired portion of an image. In this photo, I cropped out everything else aside from his hands. Cropping can be done manually by standing close to your subject, or by using the zoom on your camera. Another way to crop photos is during the editing process using the cropping tool. 

2. Strategic Placing

Strategic Placing

Strategic placing is another simple way to hide identity. Ready? Have something "conveniently" placed between your subject and you. In this case, the tree. You know I'm there, but the tree just seems to be "in the way". Bam! 

3. From Behind


Do I really need to explain this one? I do? Okay. Stand behind your subject. Next! 

4. Blurred Focus

Blurred Focus

This look can be achieved on your dSLR by playing with your focus, obviously, but I created this look on my little P&S. How, you ask? Changing the settings to close up. That's usually the little flower icon. When the setting is changed to close up, the depth of field, in this case shallow DOF, blurs out the background because it's trying to focus on something directly in front of the lens. A face can be photographed but facial features become less prominent. 

Now, next time you can tell that person to trust you and that you'll be taking their photo, but in a way that they won't be featured. You can even show them the photo afterward to see if it meets their 'please don't take pictures of me' standards. 

Do you know anyone that doesn't like getting their picture taken? How do you deal with it? Do you compromise or have you just stopped taking pictures of them? 

Happy snapping! 

Amanda ❤

DIY: Hanging Photo Line

Make Your Own Hanging Photo Line
Ever since I found out that PostalPix was available for Android, I've been printing out pictures almost every week. Most of them were so that I could add into my sketchbook/journal for art journaling, but others I didn't know what to do with. I wanted to display them around the house, but didn't know how to do it without making them permanent (For me, that means putting them in frames). I like to change out photos a couple of times once I get new favorites. 

I remembered I had some leftover clothes line pins from a project a while back so I thought I would make a little hanging photo line. 

Hanging Photo Line -What You'll Need
You'll Need: 

  • Acrylic paint (I chose different colors)
  • Paintbrush
  • Letter stamps
  • Stamping ink pad
  • Sealer- matte/gloss (optional)
  • Level (or ruler)
  • Wire (I used 16 gauge)
  • Wire cutters
  • Hammer
  • 2 nails
  • Needlenose pliers

Hanging Photo Line-Paint Pins
1. Paint your clothes pins and let dry. I chose to paint each pin a different color. To even match the phrase I was using. 

Hanging Photo Line -Stamp Saying
2. Once the paint (or sealer) is done drying, use the rubber stamps to add your phrase. I chose 'smile' but other cute ones could be: Cheese, memories, family, or any other message. These could also be personalized, say for a child and hung up in their room. 

3. Now the kind of strenuous part, but not really. Using the level, mark two spots on the wall with a pencil. This is where the nails will be going. Make sure it's to your liking. I chose a small line about 14 inches long. 

4. Hammer in the two nails where you designated the marks. 

5. Cut the wire about 2 inches longer than your markings on both ends. This will give you space for the next step. 

6. Using the needlenose pliers, wrap the extra wire around the nail two or three times, and snip away the excess. 

Hanging Photo Line -Stand Back and Enjoy
7. Hang your pins, add your photos and Enjoy! 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

PostalPix Review

Postal Pix Review
So I'd heard of Postal Pix a while back ago, but it was only available to iPhone users. I recently discovered that it's also available for Android users as well, and let me tell you! I love it! I'd been wishing there was a way that I could print my instagram and Vignette photos. (I purposely take them using a square frame so that I don't have to resize them in Instagram) They're a little pricey  (4x4 for $0.29) compared to getting photos printed at Wal-greens which sometimes has prints for $0.15, but those are for standard sizes, which doesn't work for me since my photos aren't standard size. So what I'm really trying to say is that it's not a bad deal at all. HA! Shipping doesn't seem to take long either. I usually order pictures Friday night and by Tuesday/Wednesday they're in my hand. I should try seeing how fast shipping is within the week though. 
Not only do they offer square sized photos but the traditional 4x6,5x7, and 8x10 are offered as well. They also offer aluminum printing which I'm kind of curious about and want to try ordering a few of those. Payment is simple. I use the paypal option most likely because I'm just too lazy to go get my debit card and input the information. Hahahahahaha. But aside from thatI really love it and will continue to use it. 
I've heard of other companies printing instagram photos or making magnets out of them, but I think I'll stick to this and figure out way of displaying my pictures around the house. 
Amanda ❤

Light Scoop Flash Bounce Review

Light Scoop Flash Bounce

Okay guys, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, aside from needing a camera and your own blog, this is the ONLY other thing any blogger will EVER need! I spotted this baby on the photojojo site and immediately bought it. At first I thought this would come in super handy for when I would have to take product photos for my Influenster and BzzAgent posts, but I find myself using this baby ALL the time. 

What it does is, it uses the flash from your camera to refract and disperse the light evenly, and it makes your photos look so much better. Forget that unsightly glare that using the flash produces and blowing out the colors in the photo. 

I say that this is the only thing a blogger will ever need for this simple reason. It allows you to take great phtos INDOORS AT NIGHT! Don't believe me? Well, to prove it to you, I took the following photo at 10 o'clock at NIGHT. 

You couldn't even tell could you? It gives me the same light I would get had I been taking this photo during the day positioned by the main window in my apartment. 

This is the best $30 I've invested in my blog! 

If you want to get your own, pick one up here at the Photojojo store

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Android Camera App: Pixlr-o-matic


While I use Pixlromatic for photo editing only, I can say that I do love it! There are tons of filters, effects, and frames to choose from that can be mixed and matched in a ton of ways. Also there are add on filters, effects, and frames that you can get as well. 
Here are a couple of pictures that I've edited with Pixlromatic: 
There are so many ways to edit photos with Pixlromatic and I couldn't possibly post every option available. So if you have an android phone and haven't used it yet, go ahead and download it from the Google Play store, it's free! 
Amanda ❤

Setting Up A Simple Studio

When photographing items to be featured on the blog, I like to create a really simple studio. I usually tend to do this for my Influenster posts, but have been branching out, doing this for other types of posts as well.  

I'm going to be honest here and show you what my living room tends to look like most of the time. Laundry on the couch. You don't need much space to create a small set up. I use the table top to my sewing machine mainly. 


I like to use as much natural light as possible so I usually set up right next to the huge window in the living room. All you need are the items that you'll be photographing, a background, a good source of light, and a camera. 

Since we rent, it's really not a good idea to paint the walls so I came up with the solution of bringing in a painted wood lattice from Home Depot. It's multifunctional. It adds both a pop of color and an interesting pattern, and also functions as the frame to help prop up any backgrounds I'm using for photos, in this case, a blanket.  


 Obviously studio set-ups can be a lot more complicated than this, but that doesn't mean that it has to be. Bloggers can use a set-up like this one to capture images quickly and easily for upcoming posts.  In this case, I was photographing my post about the shoes I would be wearing this fall


Amanda ❤