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"Fresh Photos with the Bomb Lighting"

Titling a blog post using Lizzo lyrics is reason enough to be writing this... but actually, my photos are the number one thing I get asked about. Nope, not organization. Photo editing. So here it is – I'm giving you the full scoop on how I edit my photos.

Brace yourself – in no way do I consider myself a savvy photographer, and I don't know any photographer lingo. I also don't have a fancy camera. I don't even have the newest iPhone. I think I have the iPhone 8 (?) and it has a giant crack down the front because my 5 year old tries to smuggle it to find JoJo videos. If you scroll through my Instagram only 15 of the 367+ photos are professionally taken. Oh how I love those handful of photos. Okay, enough chatting – I know what you came here for.

The facts:

I use the Afterlight app

I don't use a filter

I adjust the lighting a lot

I crop and straighten

I adjust the saturation

I sometimes adjust the contrast

1. I'm sure there's a ton of amazing photo editing apps out there, but I use Afterlight. A few years ago my friend Ashley Petrone (Arrows and Bow) shared how she edited her photos using Afterlight and that's that. She has amazing content. Done. I bought the $2.99 subscription. I'd say that's a pretty good deal considering I edit 95% of my photos on my phone.

2. The subscription allows you to use lots of great filters, but again, I don't use them. I've never found one I can commit to, so I just do all the editing myself until I like the way it looks. I repeat, I don't use a filter. I promise.

3. Here's the big obvious one – I adjust the lighting. A lot. Most of the spaces I organize have terrible lighting – closets, pantries, cabinets, playrooms, FRIDGES! So I have to make my own. The key is to find the balance between creating a bright airy look, and not washing out the photo completely. I have missed that balance on plenty of photos. Also, you want your photos to all look cohesive, so play around with the lighting until you find the look that fits your style/branding.

Left: original, Middle: lightened, Right: too lightened

4. My OCD little heart just can't handle a crooked photo, especially when there are a ton of lines involved (e.i. – shelves, walls, floors, etc.), so I really take time to make sure to straighten it. This is where I probably spend the most time.

Left: cropping, Right: straightening

5. If a photo was taken in a closet or a space with artificial light, chances are it has some yellow tones. I select the yellow bar in the setting and tone it down so the artificial glow is removed, but not so much that my lemons look white ;)

Left: adjusting saturation, Right: adjusting contrast

6. And sometimes if the light is really wonky I'll adjust the contrast one way or the other to make the details easier to see. A great example is when you're using clear containers and you have white labels on them, if you adjust the contrast it usually takes out the glare and makes it easier to read the white writing.

So there you have it. The answer to the #1 question I receive. Nothing fancy. But with a little obsessiveness, you too can have "fresh photos with the bomb lighting." And for that, I'll thank Lizzo ;)

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