July 24, 2013
Bar none, the number one question I get asked around here is “why are you so pretty?” No. Terrible joke (I know). It’s “how do you edit your photos?” This question pops up in my inbox, on Facebook and even, on occasion, over Twitter almost every other day. I’ve always been slightly reluctant to share my steps because it’s honestly so ridiculously easy, and I’m a part-photo editing thief (I’ll get to that part later!) I’ve come a long way since my last photo tutorial (I cringe at the yellow undertones of those photos) and thought it was high time for an update. It should be noted that I am definitely (emphasis on definitely) no expert, and I’ll claim to be one as such. BUT I am quite happy with how my photos have been turning out as of late, so here goes!
So I use Photoshop CS5 for all of my photo editing. If you don’t have Photoshop, I highly recommend you get it. It’s well worth the investment if you’re hoping to get serious about blogging (that isn’t to say that there aren’t other fab programs out there, I just don’t really have a ton of knowledge on them at this point!) So here’s a solid before picture from my recent trip to the Amalfi Coast. Pretty (I mean, it always helps to have a good subject matter), but kind of flat and sad.
::STEP No. 1::
With your image open in Photoshop, click image > auto-tone. The results should look something like the above. It doesn’t ALWAYS work – sometimes it makes the colours look all wonky, but for the most part this is my first step. If auto-tone doesn’t look right, I usually head into image > adjustments > brightness/contrast and play around until the photo gets a little more, um, “poppy” (for lack of a better word – it should be noted that I am sick to death of such a word).
::STEP No. 2::
This is the step in which I become a photo-editing thief. I downloaded Wish Wish Wish’s photoshop actions (right here) some time ago and have used it a million and a half times since. I’m totally obsessed.
Once you’ve downloaded it, click window > actions > wishwishone (the only one out of the three that I use) > and then push the little play (triangle) at the bottom right of the actions pop-up. The results should look like they do above – crazy vivid, saturated and vibrant.
::STEP No. 3::
I’m really into “soft and pretty” type photos these days (I happily blame my exposure to them at SMP Living). So I like to take it up a notch and add a pretty pink filter. To do that:
:: Create a new layer (make sure the layer is at the very top of your layer palette like so)
:: Using the bucket tool, colour the entirety of your photo in solid pink (I use #fee5f3)
:: Change the opacity of the pink layer to 50%
:: In the drop-down menu in your layers palette, click on the “soft light” overlay
::STEP No. 4::
Lastly, I add a soft grey layer to tone everything down just a touch. To do so:
:: Add another layer on top of your pink layer
:: Using the bucket tool, colour the layer entirely in the light grey of your choice (I use #e4e4e4)
:: Change the opacity of the layer to 35%
:: Using the drop down menu in your layers palette, select the “soft light” overlay
Let me know if you have any questions at all in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them! And if I don’t know, I’ll try my darndest to figure it out for you ;)
All images original to lark & linen
June 20, 2013
Ah, Positano… How can I find the words to describe this magical place? We were only here for a day, but I could have happily spent the entire week. Though quite touristy, the beautiful sites make up for the crowds.
At this point in the week, we were pretty exhausted from it all so we really didn’t accomplish anything major. We walked through the windy streets, we sat on the beach, and we made sure to enjoy a drink and a snack at a beachside restaurant. We also managed to find quite a few souvenirs at random little shops (if you do make your way there, check out Nadir. It’s where I picked up these bowls and it was definitely one of the best shops we found on the coast!)
Before making our way back to Maiori at the end of the day, we decided to stop at the Champagne Bar at Le Sirenuse. A single drink was essentially more than any other entree we purchased the duration of the trip, so we only stayed for one, but the million dollar views are absolutely unbeatable. I highly recommend this teeny tiny detour as you make your way back up to the bus stop.
June 19, 2013
Next up is the incredibly interesting city of Pompeii. Situated just outside of Naples, it’s a bit of a trek from Amalfi but the journey is well worth it. Pompeii is a city that has intrigued me since my highschool best friends visited almost 10 years ago, and I’m glad I finally got to check it off of my ever growing bucket list.
It is possible to get to Pompeii from the Amalfi Coast via public transit, but logistically it’s a bit of a nightmare. I think we worked out that we’d have to take 2 trains and 2 buses and hope that they all arrived on schedule so we didn’t miss a beat. That being said, though I’m usually anti-tour (I hate being on someone else’s schedule. Maybe I’m a control freak. Maybe.) we did one for this leg of the trip and I think it was a wise choice. If you don’t do a full day tour, I definitely recommend hiring a guide simply to help you tour the ruins. Our guide was incredible – a serious wealth of knowledge. Per her job description, she taught us things we NEVER would have known on our own*, many things we would have completely missed**, which made the experience that much more enriching.
Having been completely destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the year 79 AD, and only recently discovered (and by “recently” I mean around 250 years ago), the entire Roman city had been almost perfectly preserved under layers upon layers of volcanic ash and pumice. Mosaic flooring perfectly intact, human bodies remain in the exact position they were in at the time of their death, entire buildings still standing… It’s pretty unbelievable to say the least. It gave us a very accurate insight into how people lived so long ago.
That afternoon, we headed out to climb Mout Vesuvius (the very volcano that destroyed Pompeii almost 2000 years ago). It’s still active, and is known as the most deadly volcano in all of Europe. It’s a quick but intense climb (around 30 minutes up a steep incline), but the views are well worth it. Plus? There’s a shop that serves beer and wine at the top (knowing this helped propel us during those last few minutes, I’m not going to lie). Drinking beer & wine on top of a volcano is kind of thrilling, if you ask me.
*As we walked through what was once the brothel, our guide pointed out faint fresco’s painted above the doorway leading into each room. We were told that each fresco was a representation of a different sexual position. Because many of the prostitutes at the time were slaves and, as a result, didn’t speak the native language, the fresco’s were used so that the men could point and communicate which, um, positions they preferred.
** There were penises carved into the ground throughout the town that would guide you to the location of the brothel. This way, men didn’t need to feel embarrassed while asking for directions. They literally simply had to follow the “signs”. Who knew!
June 13, 2013
Alas! The time has come to share my Amalfi Coast photos. I feel like I spent HOURS editing them (yeah, I had over 1000) but I’m ridiculously excited about how they turned out. This magical land is so beautiful that I was asked to post them on Style Me Pretty Living. And you KNOW we only showcase the prettiest of the pretty over there (you can now consider me beyond flattered). I feel like I’ve been leaving you all hanging forever, but you’ll have to wait just a little longer as they’re going up today at 2pm EST! In the meantime, we’re talking all things Amalfi Coast as we cover a few of my what-to-pack essentials and a delicious recipe that I seriously can’t get enough of. And? I’m dedicating all next week to breaking down each and every town we visited paired with a little explanation on how we spent our time (just in case any of you are planning any Italian excursions anytime soon). Stay tuned!
UPDATE: They’re up!
all images original to lark & linen
June 3, 2013
I’m back from what can only be described as the prettiest 7 days in the entire world. The Amalfi Coast was beyond what I could have ever imagined and I’m excited to share our adventures with you shortly! We returned home late Saturday evening after an eighteen hour journey and I’m not going to lie, I’m still a little wiped out. The thought of going through and editing over a thousand pictures is currently overwhelming me, but I promise to make it a priority in the coming days! In the meantime, here’s a quick little sneak peek of our incredible Italian vacation.
April 26, 2013
Simply ending the week on a pretty note – because sometimes, all you need is a little eye candy. Happy weekend you guys!
March 27, 2013
I can’t even begin to tell you how enamored I am with this shoot from the newest Kinfolk magazine. It’s weird in the best kind of way. It simply embodies my feelings surrounding upcoming seasons and has instantly given me that kick in the pants to will winter out the door. Spring, I am so ready for you!
October 18, 2012
We couldn’t leave Ireland without experiencing some of the countryside it has to offer. One day, just before heading home, both Jess and Ian had to head into work which left Justin and I alone to explore. Having wanted to experience The Cliffs of Moher for longer than I can remember, we opted to take a day trip out that way. The drive up was absolutely outstanding; exactly what you’d imagine when envisioning the Irish countryside. At one point we passed a herd of wild miniature horses running through a field and I began to question whether or not the entire journey was even real.
The morning was bright and sunny but in true Ireland form the skies opened up and poured down on us just as we arrived cliff side (of course it waited for us to get far enough away from any form of shelter before hitting torrential downpour status). Though we were soaked through and through, there was very little that could get our spirits down at that point. One of the natural wonders of the world, the cliffs are simply one of those things you have to see to understand. Their grandeur and beauty is difficult to explain in words.
We took a different route home, driving alongside the Galway bay and stopping briefly to take in The Burren Landscape. With a few hours before we needed to head back to Dublin, we made a brief stop in Galway. A small bohemian town, it’s here you’ll find residents littered with talent. Artists, musicians, singers and the like, three hours was not enough to take it all in. I definitely want to make a point to spend more time here in the future.
All in all, an exceptional two weeks.
October 16, 2012
As mentioned, the primary reason behind this particular trip was so that Justin and I could visit our friends who currently reside in Dublin. We had a fabulous time and Jess and Ian proved to be fantastic hosts.
Though we spent the majority of the week in Dublin, enjoying the company of our friends, we did manage to head out for two day-trips throughout the week. The first consisted of a quick ride on the Dart to the cute little town of Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun-Leery – don’t ask me how. Crazy Gaelic language!) Both Jess and Ian are (fabulous) chefs and I won’t lie, our primary reasoning behind this mini-trip was to take in the food market that takes over the park every Sunday. We gorged on fantastic food, walked the old Victorian pier, and treated ourselves to ten minute chair massages for $5 in a nearby tent (best idea all week, let me tell you). It was the perfect start to our Irish adventure.
October 12, 2012
After we left Stirling, we made our way west to our last stop: Oban. To be honest, this is the portion of the trip I had been looking forward to the most while in the planning process and it did not disappoint. The route takes you through the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park as well as the Argyll Forest which are both incredibly stunning. Three hours of bright green rolling hills, lochs, highland cows (my new favourite animal) and sheep in every other direction. Basically exactly what you’d imagine Scotland to resemble.
We arrived in Oban on Thursday evening, pleasantly surprised at where we were terminating the Scottish portion of our vacation. As a little fisherman’s town right on the coast, it’s here you’ll find some of the best fish and chips in the country. We ended up staying at Heatherfield House, a sweet little bed and breakfast that I could not recommend more. Gary and Sues home was so well-appointed that they could have given Martha Stewart a run for her money. Our room was impeccable, beautifully decorated in soft shades of grey and yellow, with views of the ocean to boot. Our bathtub had a row of rubber ducks to greet us, their soaps and shampoos had come from a local organic supplier and we found chocolate bars tucked into our robes upon arrival. Not to mention the grounds lined with chickens, providing us farm fresh eggs for breakfast each morning. I’m telling you, a dream.
Though we stayed for two nights, we only had one full day to explore the small town. We decided to take the ferry over to the Isle of Mull to check out the Donegan castle and take in the area by boat. In addition to our mini day trip, not being a scotch drinker myself, I did accompany Justin on the Oban Scotch distillery tour, which ended up being a lot of fun. Naturally, we topped off the day enjoying (the freshest) fish and chips in a little pine cottage overlooking the harbour. Yes, Scotland was good to us.
As a total aside, I realize that these travel posts aren’t usually my standard material. Are you guys getting sick of reading about these journeys yet? I was going to come back next week and share a few posts on Ireland but I wanted to make sure it’s something you guys are interested in! I absolutely adore sharing these things as it’s a nice recount for my own personal memories, but I understand that lots of you come here for the interior design portion of my program. A show of hands and I’ll gladly continue!