Good Photography Skills or Good Editing Skills?

A common comment I receive on my beauty blog, The Swatching Oddity, is on my photography skills. The truth of the matter is, I know very little about photography.

All of my photos as of date have been taken with either my phone or a point-and-shoot camera. One thing that many of my readers don’t know is that I have over 5+ years of graphic design experience under my belt. For this reason, I’d say that I don’t have very good photography skills, but I do have pretty good editing skills.

Before:
impress-manicure

After:
impress-press-on-manicure-broadway-influenster

For this photo in particular, I didn’t change much. I cropped the photo, upped the brightness a lot and removed the lines where the two white pieces of paper met.

Before:
best-buy

After:
best-buy-viva-beauty-haul-1

This photo was a little more tricky to manipulate versus the first example. In this particular image, I did everything I did in the first image plus more: I used the clone stamp tool and the brush tool to even out the white background in the photo. Although I removed most of the shadows, you can still see that there is a tiny bit (without any shadows the picture would look very one dimensional).

I also used the polygonal lasso tool around the makeup products and used the brush tool in white to create clean lines around the makeup products — with the exception of the toner bottle, which was a lot more tricky to work with.

I used the polygonal lasso tool around the toner bottle as well, but I also played around with the levels around that area to remove the blue tint in the photo. Also, since there were some bright fuchsias (mascara tube and lipstick) and bright blues (toner bottle) in the photo, I wanted to play that up, so I upped the brightness and contrast on those items.

Before:
IMG_1781

After:
top-5-summer-blushes-review

For this photo, I did almost all of the same things as the previous photo, plus more: I extended the white background to all parts of the image. I used the polygonal lasso tool in this photo, but I also used the elliptical marquee tool to play around with the circular blushes. I also changed the levels to get my desired look and if you look closely at the mirror in the blush compact, you’ll see that I removed my yellow pillowcase from the reflection!

How Long Does Editing Take?

It all depends on the photo. The first photo probably took less than 30 minutes to edit. The second photo about an hour and the third photo took more than one hour. When the original photo is taken well and the lighting is good, it eliminates the editing time. Unfortunately natural sunlight doesn’t always want to cooperate when you want to write up a blog post, so that just means more editing time.

Conclusion

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! If you come across any nice photos taken by me, chances are they have been edited quite a bit.

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Thoughts | Click farms are the new sweatshops

Source: Kim Hong-JiKim Hong-Ji/AFP/Getty Images

Click, click, clickety, click click!

I came across an interesting article by The Washington Post about the concept of click farms. Essentially, a click farm is a company (or a department within a company) that pays its employees to click “like” on various social media postings, like Facebook, Instagram and the like (that pun was totally intended).

I always knew that you could buy likes, but the concept of a click farm is new to me. In a way, these likes are “genuine” because real people are liking posts. The conception of click farms makes marketing on social media so much more difficult.

Don’t Do It!

In the long run, buying likes and using click farms will hurt your brand. These concepts do not generate engagement or genuine followers.

It has almost been two months since I began writing my beauty blog, The Swatching Oddity, and I can now easily tell which social media accounts buy likes or followers. According to my unscientific observations (and lets ignore hashtags), when I had about 100 followers on my Instagram account, I would get about 30ish likes on my posts. So about 30% of my followers are engaging with my content.

When I come across an account with 10000 followers and only 200 likes on their posts, I get a little suspicious. It means that only 2% of their audience is engaging with their content. One could argue that maybe their content sucks, but why would you follow the account in the first place if that were the case?

Buying Likes On Facebook

Facebook is a strange place. Actually, I’ll be blunt, Facebook is very annoying. Although I have about 125 people who have liked my Facebook page, organically, my posts only reach 40-50 peoples news feeds, which is less than half of my potential reach. This is extremely frustrating because on Twitter or Instagram, when you post something, all of your followers will see your post. I would say that Facebook is the one exception to the rule. Buying likes on Facebook (through Facebook, not through another company because your page could be taken down) may be worth it. However, I personally find the page post engagement option more beneficial in terms of generating traffic on my blog.

How Do You Do Social Media Right?

Content. Content. Content. Focusing on content is key! Creating content that gives value to your readers will allow to you gain genuine likes and followers. And patience is definitely a virtue. A successful brand isn’t created overnight — it requires time and effort (yes, I realize I just used a TON of cliches in this paragraph). x_x

Also, like it is in real life, it’s all about who you know on social media. When you attract the attention of the more “popular” people on social media and they share your content, expect to get noticed big time. I was never the popular girl. So this is hard for me :( #ihavenofriends

To read more about click farms, click here.

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Spelling Mistakes in Advertisements — The Bay

The Bay, if you are reading this, I love you guys. One day I will redeem my HBC reward points and buy myself something HUGE. So thank you for your rewards program. I hope to redeem my points one day after spending $4000 so I can get myself a $25 HBC gift card. Hooray!

I got this flyer today with my local newspaper.

The Bay Flyer
Flyer from The Bay

Nothing special right? Actually, it seems like a pretty good deal. I might just take advantage of it (hello, 10% off! That means I’ll only be paying, like, 3% tax on my purchase! *rolls eyes*). Remember back in the day when The Bay had scratch and save? Whatever happened to that!? I remember peeking over my mom’s shoulder as she would scratch the card with her nail, watching in anticipation, hoping that she would uncover a 50% discount on her purchase. But alas, the anticipation no longer exists. Anyways, I digress…

Can you spot the spelling mistake?

The Bay's Spelling Mistake
Fail!

Someone forgot to use spell check.

Why? Just why? smh.

I can only pray that I will never make spelling mistakes like this in my copy. *cringes*

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Do ya dig the Timeline?

It doesn’t seem to matter if you like Facebook Timeline or not — all profiles will be changing to the new layout over the next few weeks. I, myself, have already embraced the Timeline and I am loving it, despite the fact that one of my friends wrote on my wall and said, “It makes it look like you were born in 2005.”

This always seems to happen whenever Facebook releases a new layout. Most people are reluctant to change, and Facebook users are no different. Every time Facebook rolls out a new layout, there is always some sort of backlash from its users. I’ve even read some users write, “If Facebook changes my page to the Timeline, I’m deactivating my account.” Seriously? Bro, chill out.

I personally like the new layout. It organizes your content really nicely and the top banner is a subtle touch that lets you be creative, without being overly excessive (like using blinking gif backgrounds or midi music on a Myspace page).

If you’re a Timeline hater, no worries. Eventually you’ll get used to the layout, Facebook will change the layout again about a year later, and then you’ll complain about wanting the Timeline back. It’s the circle of (Facebook) life — embrace it. :)

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