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How I Take and Edit an Instagram Photo

I’m wrapping up my little 3 part “Instagram series” with this behind the scenes look at how I take an Instagram picture and edit it. You can find Part One (where I shared how I became an influencer) right HERE and Part Two (where I shared tips on how you can improve and grow your own feed) HERE.

I love behind the scenes stuff so I thought this post would be fun! I wanted to answer a few questions I get about my pictures (what camera I use, how I get pictures of Clementine sleeping, how I edit, etc.) So hopefully this post is helpful!

I could take this post a lot of different directions (phone vs. dslr, group shot vs. individual, etc.) But since I do get so many questions specifically about the sleeping Clementine pictures, I thought that would be a great example to use. And I always use my phone to get these shots so keep that in mind.

A lot of people want to know how I’m able to get well lit pictures of her sleeping so I’ll just show you the current (crammed) setup of her crib in our room.

As you can see, the light is flooding in directly by her bed. She’s been sleeping right here since she was itty bitty and she’s always been used to sleeping with the blinds open. So the light does not bother her while she’s napping. And as far as noise goes, we always use a fan at naptime and bedtime and since she is in our room, we are in and out of there a lot while she’s sleeping. So I feel like at this point, she can sleep through quite a bit.

Anyway, when I am planning to get a sleeping picture of her, I usually just lay her down with her little lovey that she won’t sleep without (from Stella and Lu) and leave the room until she falls asleep. And in case you’re wondering–yes, I do plan these pictures out in my head ahead of time. Sometimes I do it to display a product collaboration and sometimes it’s because I think it’s adorable. But I’m pretty sure all her naptime photos are planned before she even goes to sleep.

I check back in on her about 10 minutes later and 99.9% of the time, she’s sleeping. This is the point I take a picture because she’s in a deeper sleep and won’t startle awake as easily. However, whatever position she’s laying in when I walk in to check on her (on her back, belly, or side) I just have to work with because there’s no way I’m risking flipping her over just for a picture. So for the example I’m going to use, when I walked into our room, I found sweet Clementine napping like this…

I was excited that she was on her back because that’s the vision I had in my mind. But she was sleeping at an angle so I had to gently scoot her over to the center. Usually I don’t adjust that much but I had a very particular setup in my mind this time so I took the risk and moved her over.

I wanted to get a picture of Clementine sleeping with all of the Cuddle and Kind dolls we have. Evangeline and Kingston had the opportunity to be in a video shoot for them recently and they each got a doll in return. So after adding those 2 dolls to the 4 dolls we already had, I knew I wanted to get a picture of all of them together. **A little side note–This company does amazing things by donating meals to children in need. This weekend they are doubling their impact. Each doll sold= 20 meals donated! (No coupon required.) And you can get free shipping by using the code GIVETHANKS. This post isn’t sponsored by them but I always love to share about this company!

Anyway, this is one of the first pictures I took (it’s completely unedited.) I always start out with some test shots before I move anything around so I can get a better idea of what I want for the picture.

After I see the first shots, I start to make adjustments. I didn’t like how crammed it looked with all 6 dolls and I also didn’t like the repetition of the two unicorns so I took the smaller one away. I also didn’t like the way her legs looked so I tried to adjust those a bit. Sometimes she moves how I want her to, sometimes she doesn’t. After I felt like I had everything else adjusted, I took out her pacifier and started taking pictures. And here’s a dorky shot that I had Don take to show what I look like when I’m trying to get a picture. Whatever it takes to get “the shot.”

Because her legs were looking weird to me, I grabbed a blanket to cover them up. I kept making small adjustments until I liked the way everything was lined up. I ended up with the shot below. This was the last picture I took (after taking a ton.) P.S. that arm around the mermaid was actually something she did on her own and I love it!

So here it is unedited…

And here’s the edited version…

(Editing to add a disclaimer! When I posted this photo to Instagram, I felt that it still looked a little dull so I deleted it and then bumped up the brightness, highlights, and contrast through the Instagram editing.)

As you can see, I brightened it up quite a bit. The thing about editing is that everybody has a different style. And that’s okay! That’s what makes photography more interesting! My husband and I have opposite taste in editing. I like light and airy, he likes dark and contrasted. If this editing style is not your thing, that’s fine!

However, if you’d like to know how I got this final result, I actually made a video to share my editing from start to finish. Unfortunately, when I uploaded to youtube, it didn’t upload the audio. I was actually talking throughout and explaining each part but the audio didn’t carry over for some reason. Hopefully I can get that issue resolved if I do another video like this. But this time I guess you can just be thankful that you didn’t have to listen to my nasal-y voice.

To quickly summarize, I start with Snapseed to brighten, fix any discoloration, and “heal” out imperfections (like the stuff that didn’t get vacuumed up beforehand 😉 ) Then I usually run my pictures through A Color Story to put a filter on it (Punch from the Blush pack is my current favorite) and use the curves until I like the finished result. And then I do my final adjustments in Instagram (like changing perspective and straightening the picture.) I’m still working on my editing skills because I really never feel like that’s my specialty. But I know I have seen improvement at some point in the past few years.

Anyway, here is the video for you to see how I got the final picture! If you have any questions or think you’d like more examples, please let me know! Have a great weekend!

iphone, Month In A Minute

October Recap

I’m a little late getting to my recap post this month (I’ll get to it in a minute.) But in case you hadn’t already heard, last week we ended up in the ER with Desmond (our two year old.) Because I left all my posts about it so vague, I thought I would just quickly share what happened. You know, as quickly as this long winded woman can manage haha.

Last Wednesday (the 1st) we noticed that Desmond had cough/cold symptoms and he was wheezing. Our 4 oldest have asthma so we knew the drill. However, I’m always afraid of over medicating (I’ll touch more on that in a minute) so we didn’t immediately treat him since his symptoms were so mild. Very quickly we noticed his breathing become much more labored so we decided to give him the inhaler. When that didn’t seem to help, we gave him some leftover steroid from his sister’s asthma flare up the week before. At this point, I’m noticing he is retracting as he’s breathing.

Of course, as these things always seem to happen, it was in the evening when both our doctor’s office and urgent care were closed. So I took a video and asked on a Facebook group (filled with lots of nurses!) how concerned we should be. We didn’t want to have to go to the ER if we could just treat him at home with breathing treatments. Within minutes of posting the video, I had tons of people urging me to get him to the ER as soon as possible.

When we walked up to the front desk at the ER to register, the nurse watched him take one breath before taking us immediately back to a room where they hooked up him to machines and got his vitals. Amazingly, his oxygen was good but he was working way too hard to breathe. After steroids and breathing treatments, he was doing much better but they decided he needed to stay overnight. Throughout the next day, he was given breathing treatments but his little body was still working too hard. He had one episode during his nap when his oxygen dropped so that made them decide to keep him an extra night to monitor him.

Thankfully that night went well and we were able to go home the next day. I’m so thankful for all the women who encouraged me to get to the hospital quickly. I don’t even want to think of what could have happened if we had decided to wait until the next morning to see how he was doing.

Even though my husband has asthma and I’ve been treating our 4 oldest for asthma for many years, I learned that I was under medicating our children. I had been so afraid of over medicating and that was actually putting them in more danger. I was given so much good information about when to start treating and how much medication to give. I was also made more aware of when it’s time to take a child to the doctor. I only just learned what “retracting” even means so I didn’t even realize how bad Desmond actually was. I feel so much better equipped to take care of our kids now when they are having troubles with their breathing.

Anyway, that turned out way longer than I had anticipated and that’s actually the very brief version. But I’m just so happy that everything turned out okay. Desmond is doing great right now. He still has a cough and they warned us that it’s likely he could get an ear infection or pneumonia, but so far he seems to be doing well. And me? Well I’m just still recovering from sleeping on a hospital couch for 2 nights (while also being pregnant.)

Now back to October’s recap…starting with this sweet sleepy girl. I get tons of questions about how I’m able to get such well lit pictures of her napping. Her crib is actually pushed up against the window in our room and we have been leaving the blinds open during nap time since birth. I wanted her to be used to sleeping in any lighting and it has worked out wonderfully! I’ll be doing it again with baby #7!

The naptime photos are definitely getting more difficult (not that they were ever necessarily “easy” with her) but I still have to attempt them as much as possible!

Meanwhile, Evangeline is working on all her “instagram mom” poses haha. She says she wants to be a mommy when she grows up and that makes me so happy. Her stroller is from Trio Kid (that’s an affiliate link which just means I’d make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchased through that link) and it’s such an adorable play stroller!

I already put up some pictures from our pumpkin patch visit but I had to post a few from my phone.

How is it possible that she looks so grown up but also still feels like my little baby?! It’s so hard to imagine her becoming a big sister in just a few short months. I have a feeling there’s going to be some major jealousy issues going on 😉

Also, her laughs and smiles are the best thing in the world! Every smile is 100% contagious.

A girls day with Evangeline a couple of weeks ago was exactly what I (and she) needed. It’s so hard to find time to do one-on-one time with each of the kids but this day showed me how much we need to prioritize it! I had such a fun time with her as she pointed out every single thing that was “super pretty.” It was fun to treat her to Steak n Shake and give her some undivided attention.

A local IG friend happens to work for our favorite doll company (Cuddle and Kind) and was looking for some models for a video shoot they were doing. Kingston and Evangeline got to run around and play at a Christmas tree farm with a fun snow machine. They did so incredibly well! So if you happen to see the Cuddle and Kind Christmas video, watch for both of them in it! We had such a fun time and the kids looked adorable in their outfits with the dolls.

This stair step photo is probably my new favorite group shot of the kids. 6 kids standing in a straight line AND smiling! You better believe we only had a few seconds to get that picture before Clementine took off and decided she was done haha. I’m still amazed I was able to get that shot (without even having to bribe them!!)

I used to think I’d forever be a boy mom. I can’t believe we’re about to have our 3rd girl! Watching these two sisters together sure makes me excited for another little girly in our family.

One of my favorite Halloween week traditions (inspired by my friend, Maggi!) We pick up some donuts and eyeball sprinkles from Walmart (we just wash and reuse the plastic teeth–go ahead and gag if you want.) Then I just let the kids “decorate” them. So easy and so fun!

I already posted our Halloween pictures but I just had to include this close up of my little munchkin and that amazing hair. Funny story, the next day I didn’t wash his hair because he was feeling bad. But then we had to rush to the hospital. Right as we were walking out the door, I tried to turn it into a faux hawk (which wasn’t the easiest because of course I decided to use super strength hairspray on there the night before.) His hair was a total sloppy mess but he got SO many compliments on his hair. Maybe I should have left it like this haha.

November started out a little rough but I have a feeling it’s going to get better! Especially since today is my 30th birthday and all I requested for my birthday was lots of yummy foods that I won’t have to cook, a day out exploring the fall foliage before it’s gone, and a family picture! I’ve heard great things about life in your 30s so I hope it’s all it’s cracked up to be 😉

Have a great day and don’t forget to watch the Month in a Minute from October!!