Looking forward …

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So here we are then, 2017 is underway!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. As usual it has flown by  – no sooner have the tree and decorations gone up, it’s time to take them down again!

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Decs Away!!!

It’s good though to get back to “normality”. I never did much like the few days between Christmas and New Year (and I don’t think I’m alone in this). After the franticness of December, the excitement and build up to the big day, the magic of Christmas Eve (always been my favourite day of the year and also happens to be our eldest son’s birthday) and of course Christmas Day itself, afterwards things seem a bit, er, flat.

Although I find the break a great opportunity to come up with new ideas for the year ahead and start putting the wheels in motion for them. This cheers me up no end; I really love this kind of research, especially when I discover stuff that is going to prove very handy. As indeed I have. I also have fun finding and trying out new apps and experimenting with creative effects to my heart’s content – a perfect chance to do just that – and of course I’ve fallen head over heels with a couple of new (to me) Apps which I’ll tell you about soon!

As well as the brainstorming, we had a fleeting visit to Marwell Zoo, to start making use of the annual membership I bought Lee for Christmas (and treated myself too!). We’ll really make the most of it I’m sure – so many amazing photo opportunities! It was a very cold and misty day, and lots of the animals not surprisingly were hiding away. So we only wandered round for an hour or two this time but it was great to blow away some cobwebs and have a nice brisk walk and there was still lots to admire and photograph. Wildlife is so fascinating isn’t it! Being so close to Marwell, it’s great that we can nip over there with our cameras whenever we have a spare hour or two. Here’s a few I took on Friday, I expect you’ll see one or two more in the next few months!

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This little bute very obligingly strolled slowly passed me several times so I could get a few good close-ups! Or maybe he was just thinking I’d make a good dinner … yikes!!!

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We also had our annual panto trip to the Mayflower on New Years Eve – oh yes we did!! (Sorry couldn’t resist that …) With it being a special night, we always treat ourselves to dinner in the theatre’s Ovation restaurant pre-show, which never disappoints. Did any of you see this year’s panto, Robin Hood, there? We had a good old giggle and joined in the banter, the effects were very clever too. Lee and I first met when we were in the back row of a panto chorus together, an amateur production in Sunbury-on-Thames, many moons ago. We did our fair share of pantos back in the day, so have some great memories – the shows were usually late January so the rehearsals and set building etc was a brilliant way to overcome any January blues!! So we still love to get our panto fix once a year – but from the audience rather than on stage these days!

I’ve had some great feedback already re the joy the pictures you bought as gifts have given when opened by your surprised loved ones on Christmas Day. That’s so nice to know 🙂 Thank you.

It’s really lovely to have lots of photoshoots and weddings in the diary already – so looking forward to seeing you all!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for!

5 Excellent Apps for Editing Photos

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I promised to share with you my favourite photo editing Apps, so here goes!

These are my ones of choice when editing my personal pics taken on my Iphone, such as for my pictures of the day, and when we’re out socialising, etc. I just love experimenting with the different effects, and seeing how even only half-decent images can be transformed into something a bit special.

Only problem … it can be a bit addictive! But great fun … if you like this kind of thing!

Anyways …

Snapseed

This is my absolute must have! It’s the one I always go to first to do an initial edit on pictures; a little cropping maybe, then an enhancement such as the Drama or HDR effects, both of which can take your images from good to Woweeeee!!

You can also adjust the effect to your personal taste by swiping across the screen.

Here’s a pic I took on my Iphone, before and after it had been “Snapseeded”

Before ...

Before …

... and after!

… and after!

 Quite a difference, eh? Amazing what a little crop, straighten and a bit of Drama can do!!

PicsPlay Pro

This is perfect if you only want to enhance your image, as you can adjust colour, exposure, white balance, sharpening etc. But it does also hold a massive FX studio comprising of ten effect folders such as Art, HDR, Black & White, Beauty, etc, and each of these effect folders contain several looks to choose from ij that genre and adjust if you so wish. You could spend hours experimenting, but you will no doubt find your favourites and stick to those mostly, as I do.

This App also includes a whole range of frames, textures, stamps (art and word overlays), vignettes and lots more!

Very handy. 

For this image, I used “Scratching” from the Grunge FX section

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PiZap

Great name eh!!

As well as being excellent for collages, which I’ll cover in another post, Pizap http://www.pizap.com/ has some really different enhancements – adding all sorts of wonderful patterns and colours to your pictures. It also has a huge number of stickers, borders, phrases – you can even cutout a section from your image.  Also add filters with a bit of a difference, such as stars, dazzle, pop art etc etc. You can have a good old play and never know what you’re going to end up with!

Some I gave the PiZap treatment to …

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Waterlogue

This is a super App as you can achieve a perfect result transforming your photo into a fabulous watercolour painting. And you can even choose the style of watercolour you’d like – there are several to experiment with – ranging from abstract to illustrative!

Clever stuff!

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Photo Pro.Lab

And now for something completely different!

This App is pure fun – definitely not to be taken seriously! All sorts of wacky stuff … frames, backgrounds, effects and collages – you can even put your best friend on the cover of Vogue!

Love the anticipation of how the image will look as the App processes the effect!

Just too much to mention here so why don’t I just show you a few I made earlier …. sorry I had to use myself as a model for one or two!!

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Truely hilarious!!!

I do realise that effects aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy using them on my personal pics. Haha, you’d never have guessed would you!!!  🙂

Happy creating!!

3 Awesome Apps for making words & phrases look really amazing!

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2014-10-10 22.18.07Do you love posting photos on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc?  Who doesn’t these days!!  Ever fancied superimposing a few words, or funny/emotive phrases on top of your images? So popular now, you see it all the time. Maybe you already do and would like to make your words look a bit special and unique. Or do you ever feel the need for inspiration when creating posters, invitations, scrapbooking or whatever? Well, needless to say, there are some great Apps out there to help. Even if you haven’t an artistic bone in your body, it’s possible nowadays to produce artwork to be proud of.

Sigh. How I would have loved to have had access to this mine of inspiration back in my graphic design days!! Aah, just imagining all those hours I’d have saved …. Oops, so sorry, I digress!! Times have changed  🙂

Anyway, I’d love to share with you some of my favourite Apps for doing just this, which I reckon are quite awesome. Some of these Apps allow for use on both personal and commercial use, but others permit only for personal projects, so I only use those ones for things like my personal 365 Project. Always check out the terms of use first to be on the safe side, especially if you need to use any for business purposes.

And I do apologise if some of these are only available in the App store as that’s what I use, but of course there are some equally great Apps in the Play Store for your Android devices.

Anyway … in no particular order as these are all great!

Rhonna Designs

http://www.rhonnadesigns.com/ Bursting with uplifting sayings, beautiful brushed lettering, artistic fonts, icons, banners etc etc etc etc Ecetera !!!!! If this great App doesn’t inspire you, nothing will!!! I know this one is strictly for personal stuff only, so I have never sadly been able to use it for my Romsey Fotografix artwork, but I have found it invaluable for my personal bits and pieces. Truely brilliant!

A Beautiful Mess

http://www.abeautifulmessapp.com/  There is some wonderful stuff on this App!  For personal use, you can easily put together collages, add text, doodles, phrases, all beautifully drawn by Elsie and Emma, who also have a fantastic blog of the same name http://www.abeautifulmess.com/ which is so very enjoyable – and very handy too! I can relate to so much of what they say, especially their take on photography, but there’s so much other interesting stuff too, such as crafts, like sewing and jewellery making; style and fashion ideas; recipes, and loads more besides! Fabulous!!

Wordswag

http://wordswag.co/ Now this sure is one very clever beast!! If you’re ever designing a poster or invitations and have the words but need the inspiration to lay them out in an eye-catching way, this could be the answer to your prayers! Basically, you just type in your phrase, hit the save button, and you can then spend hours (believe me, it’s addictive!!) changing the way your text looks. It’s quite simply, amazing!! I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made to me! Inspiration at your fingertips! And if you’re stuck for words, it also includes loads of quotes etc. Wow! Take a look at the quick video on their website http://wordswag.co/#features which will give you more idea of how it works and how simple it is!

I hope you find these Apps as inspiring and useful as I have. Coming soon, I will be sharing some of my absolute can’t-live-without photo editing Apps, and also some super Apps for making collages! It would be great to hear about your favourites too!! 🙂