Creating a Theme: How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I get so many questions about how I edit my photos and keep a “theme” to my Instagram, here’s a quick guide on how!

It’s come to my attention that a lot of people are interested in how I edit my photos for Instagram! Which is flattering of course. But I thought it would be easiest to compile everything I’ve learnt along the way, into one blog post. That way when I am asked, I can point you in the direction of this post instead!

A lot of the questions I’m asked are often the same, and they run along the lines of;

  • Which editing apps do you use?
  • Do you use filters?
  • What kind of camera do you use?
  • How do you get your photos to all look the same?

And the answer isn’t usually a straight one. In fact, it’s a lot of factors pulled together. I’m by no means a photographer, so my knowledge on photography isn’t as broad as some, but there are a few simple things that I do to keep a consistent look on my Instagram page. I’ll try to keep this as straightforward as possible.

1. My Camera

I use the Canon G7X Mark II. It’s an awesome little camera with a 24-1000mm lens capability. What I love most about it though is how compact it is, I don’t have to lug around lenses and it’s super easy to take on little outings.

Now, you can just use your phone camera. But the reason I prefer my canon is because the photos are so much more true to colour, which makes them a lot easier to edit.

I do, from time to time, use my iPhone X camera, in moments I might not have my camera near, however almost always, the photos look Grainy and more orange? For some mysterious reason. Again, if I was a photographer, I could probably tell you why. But for the most part, I really do find the iPhone X camera a bit of a let down considering it’s hype when it was released.

Here’s a comparison of a photo taken with my iPhone X vs my Canon G7x Mark II with no filter applied;

2. Consistent Lighting

I almost never post photos I take after dark. And no, not because they’re racy (shhhh). Mostly because the lighting after dark is often hard to edit, it’ll also effect the way my theme looks in grid format.

That’s not to say you can’t do it, I just personally don’t. And that contributes to my overall theme on Instagram.

3. Apps

I only use a handful of apps, the main one being “Lightroom CC”. However “Facetune” “Quickshot” and “Polarr” also have cool features.

Lightroom is definitely the one I use most though, on every single photo I take. Mainly because of it’s preset feature

4. Filters/Presets

This is a huge contributor to the overall consistent theme of my photos. Believe it or not, every single photo I upload has the same filter applied, it’s called a Lightroom preset.

Now, you can use any filter you like, from any app you like, whatever resonates with you and you think goes well with your photos will work. However, in particular I use Lightroom presets. Lightroom is a free editing app, and the “presets” are a seperate feature you can buy, upload into the app, and then use as you please. They are similar to filters however you get more control over them as you are able to change aspects of them as you need to such as exposure and colour (something you can’t do with traditional filters)

This in particular is what gives my photos the “peachy” that look a lot of my followers ask me about! I simply adjust the SAME preset according to the photo I am editing.

Here’s an example of the difference a filter or preset makes to a raw image!

Presets are ALL over Instagram. And google in fact! So have a hunt around and find one that resonates with you!

I was gifted mine, from a great friend Robyn, who runs a travel page on Instagram @twoworldwanders ! But there are similar ones all over the internet.

5. Colour

Another aspect that contributes to the way my grid looks, is the colour variation of my posts. I try to stick with 2-5 colours that are hidden SOMEWHERE in every photo I take. And I’ll always try not to post that same colour variation in a row, but rather scattered. For example I’ll never post a picture with a plain white background twice in a row.

“Plann” is a great app to play with in this regard, it helps you move the images around as if they were already in a grid format. So you can see how they would look if you posted them in that order.

Consistency is Key!

The secret is consistency! Using the same camera or iPhone, in similar lighting with the SAME filter every time, is what gives your page a “theme”.

But really, there are no rules! You don’t even have to have a theme if you don’t want to! I love the peachy hue of my theme, but you might light darker tones, or more monotoned looks! Have a play, see what works well with the kinds of images you take, and go from there. Get creative, and as long as you’re enjoying it, who cares?!

Xx Emily @ lovinglittleone

Balling on a Budget: Making Parenthood Work when you’re Strapped for Cash

It’s no secret, our first daughter, Violet, was unplanned. I was 18 and in the middle of an education degree and Dan was 20 and had just left his job as a landscaper. We lived with his mum, and had absolutely nothing in the way of savings.

There we were, jobless and broke, and we’d been told we were expecting a baby. I think the first word we both though of was “shit”. Despite what the world might have expected us to do in a situation where we had no income, we decided to continue with the pregnancy. We loved each other, and we had always wanted children together, and god, you know I would never forgive myself if we had decided to terminate and then had fertility issues down the track. All we’ve ever wanted was to be parents together.

Despite having next to nothing, what we did have was love and support from everyone around us, and to this day it continues. Becoming parents so young hasn’t been easy, and I’d hardly say we’re now suddenly “well off”, because we’re not. We’re still rocking this gig on a budget.

We have always managed to make things work, whether it be strategy or pure luck, I thought I would share how we’ve made it to where we are today with you.

Find a job and stick with it (even if it’s just for now). God, it sounds easy. But the reality was, for about 4 months of my pregnancy with Violet, Dan didn’t have an income, and I was part time at a burger restaurant. It wasn’t because he didn’t want a job. Big cities can be tough, and it’s certainly a case of take what you can get. Once he got it, he stuck to it, as painful as it was at times. It paid the bills, and as long as that happened we could focus on finding something better in the background. So take what you can get and remember there will always be time to work on the bigger picture once you’ve got an income.

Take all the help you can get. I get it, it’s a pride thing. But there are systems in place to help your financial situation, systems that EVERYONE here in Australia is entitled to, not just low income earners. Enquire about what you’re entitled to and don’t be ashamed to claim it. The systems are in place to help, not only your financial situation but your overall wellbeing. That also goes for accepting help from family and friends, they’re here to help and they certainly wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to help you.

Keep track of what you’re spending. Something we certainly haven’t always been good at. You don’t have to be as crazy as keeping every receipt, but taking note of your bank statements is a step in the right direction. You’d be surprised just how much a daily coffee on your way to work adds up.

Make it yourself. Food that is. I would say clothing but you know this girl has no idea how to sew (properly anyways). Honestly though, homemade things will always save you money. Especially snacks. Feeding a toddler can be pricey when you buy pre-packaged snacks. Try batches of pizza scrolls, muffins, sausage rolls. They can be frozen and reheated and end up cheaper because you’re making batches.

Take moments over “things”. Whilst kids are little, and even as they get older toys always seem to be present. But remember they’re often tossed aside when something new comes along. Opt for experiences over gifts, especially in a sense of saving money. Beach trips, park trips, even just going for a stroll adds a bit of joy and money doesn’t have to be spent doing any of those things. Heck, even get out the hose in your backyard. The simplest things can bring joy to kids, you’ve just got to be enthusiastic and they’ll follow suit.

Don’t be trapped by loans. It is SO tempting, I know. Credit cards, car loans, short term personal loans… such a great way to get what you want, but long term… it is so much more expensive. Consider budgeting for the things you want, save for them first and then splurge. It makes all the difference week to week when you don’t have the weight of loan repayments. Though I do understand this way of doing things isn’t for everyone. And by all means, go ahead if you know it will work with you and your budget. But personally from my perspective, it’s one less financial stress for our family.

Make the big hard decisions. Sometimes it means picking up and moving, sometimes it means giving up things that take up too much of your budget. Sometimes it certainly is a bit of a sacrifice. However I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t be having children if you’re not ready to make some sacrifices.

I’ll be honest, I could go on and on here about how to make it work with little money. But truth be told, you probably already knew a lot of these points. A lot of people will put off having children for the sake of finances, which of course is a personal decision. But in my opinion there really is no “right time” to have children. You could want to buy a house first, or a new car, go on that dream vacay, get the dream job… all valid reasons to put it off, but there will always be something else to do.

We get to do all of our big dreams with our girls by our side, and although we’ve made a few sacrifices, we make it work. And I’d much rather have a couple tiny hands to hold through the tough parts of life, than to be handling it solo.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

The Lazy Mum’s Guide to Keeping a Tidy Home

I have never been very good at house keeping. Before I had children I was a bit of a mess, I saw housework as a chore (because we all know it is), and like everything else I don’t enjoy doing I would put it off. And everyone knows mess only gets messier the longer you leave it.

Since having the girls I’ve come to realise that life is far more stressful in a home with children if it isn’t organised (at least a little bit). So I’ve taken it upon myself the teach myself easier ways of staying on top of housework, because let’s be real, lazy people will always find a shortcut.

So, here are some simple little tricks I’ve learnt that make keeping a tidy home that little bit easier;

1. One Touch Rule

This is made up, obviously, but it has made a huge difference in the way of keeping space de-cluttered and it’s super simple (though a bit of a challenge to begin with if you’re lazy like me). Things you’ve used, whether it be an item of clothing or a book, once you’ve finished with it, don’t put it in a space it doesn’t belong, put it straight back in its designated space. Everything you touch you should only have to do so once, for example if you have a coat on, when you get home don’t take it off and put it on the couch, that will mean you have to touch it again to put it away. It’s that bit of extra initial effort, but it’ll mean you don’t spend time later on decluttering that space.

2. Empty the Damn Dishwasher

SIMPLE. The dishwasher is finished? Empty it straight away. It sounds silly, but it is one of the easiest ways to keep on top of your dishes, it avoids dish pile up in your sink, making your kitchen look 100% cleaner without even trying. I usually put my dishwasher on at night just before bed, and in the morning, unpacking it is the first thing I do after getting Violets breakfast sorted. It means I’ve got space from the get go for the dishes we use throughout the day and the sink stays clear of dishes!

3. Hang on Hangers

This is a nifty little trick I learnt from my mother in law (to be). Hang your hangables out to dry on hangers! If you’re anything like me you’re not a huge fan of washing, not really the washing or the hanging part, but the putting away. Hanging things on hangers means you can literally take it off the line and put it straight into your cupboard (following the one touch rule without even trying). Which only leaves underwear and pants to fold, halving the folding and putting away job. I also find things tend to dry a whole lot better on hangers too, win-win!

4. Clean as you Go

If working in hospitality has taught me anything, it’s a whole lot easier to keep a space tidy if you make the effort to clean as you go. Not the easiest rule to follow if you’ve got a toddler racing around and a newborn who needs your attention, BUT if you can manage it, it’ll mean that when the kids do finally have a rest you won’t have to spend that time cleaning up after a mess you’ve made cooking. Again, the one touch rule comes in handy, put things away as you use them. It’s more effort to begin with, but SO much less work in the end.

5. Keep cleaning supplies where they’ll be used

I have a great mind for putting things away, but I’ve found if that space isn’t within an easy reach I rarely bother to use it. So I’ve started keeping cleaning supplies where they’ll be used most. An example, toilet cleaner is on the windowsill above the toilet, it doesn’t look the prettiest so it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it really has impacted the cleanliness of things in my home. Just remember if you have children that “within reach” is within your reach, not your child’s!

6. Good Cleaning Products

Products with multiple uses and that WORK are your friend. It’s all well and good to have an entire cupboard of products, but if you’re anything like me you’ll dread using them because of the sheer amount of them. We have been using a brand called “Koh” for a couple of months now and I’ve been really impressed with it. It has a ton of multi uses and is a lot better for the environment than your usual cleaning products. You can find more info on it Here if you’re interested, I could go on about the reasons I love it but the website speaks for itself. Basically, good products have motivated me to actually use them, and that’s why it’s on this list.

7. Try Timer Cleaning

Being lazy goes hand in hand with being unmotivated. Give yourself a kick in the arse by setting a timer. I’ll often walk into a space and think “I’ll do it soon” and then it never gets cleaned. By setting myself 10 minutes to clean the space, it actually gets done! And better yet, I often feel motivated to keep cleaning other areas afterward. Be sure to actually use a timer, on your phone or something, otherwise it probably won’t work as well.

8. Baskets and Boxes

I don’t know about any other mums, but especially now after Christmas our house is filled with toys, literally from one end to the other. I can honestly say the easiest way to keep sane surrounded by children’s toys is to throw them all into a nice looking basket and chuck it into the corner of the room. Vi is old enough now to help throw them into the basket so we have a general tidy up time before every meal where we spend time together putting all of the toys into the baskets, leaving the spaces generally clutter free (for the most part).

9. Ask the kids for help

Now, obviously I’m not asking the 7 week old to help tidy things, but Violet is a very capable helper. She was able to do so from about 12 months, and she’s always been happy to help so long as I’m helping her too. We make it a bit of a game by singing a song I made up called the tidy up song. Cleaning doesn’t have to seem like a chore, and the more fun you make it for your children the more likely they are to want to help and they should always be helping! It’s called being a part of a household, no one gets out of it, unless they’re too young to do it yet. There’s nothing stopping you from making it a game either, who can pick up the most toys? Who can wipe up the most mess? There’s no limit to the fun you can have really, it’s all about what you make it.

Most importantly, above all of this, remember it’s okay if things don’t always get done. Don’t put pressure on yourself to “keep the house clean”… as soon as I stopped putting that expectation upon myself, I stopped feeling rotten when it didn’t get done, which in turn gave me a better relationship with cleaning. It wasn’t a “job” anymore, rather something I actually wanted to do.

The mess really will always follow you when you have children it’s just the reality of things. Toddlers are messy, newborns preoccupy you… but it’s not impossible, especially when you do little bits here and there to keep things manageable. Hopefully this list inspired you a little, even though your hands are probably already full. I believe in you!

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One