Tools Of The Trade #19: Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Today, we’re going to chat about Photoshop actions! I’ve been using the A Beautiful Mess Complete Collection of actions for about 6 months now and after giving most of them a test run, I wanted to share some examples of how I edit my photos daily for this blog. If you’re not familiar with actions, they are presets that you can quickly apply to any photo. Because you can adjust the opacity of layers, they can be as subtle or punchy as you’d like.

Below, I’m sharing some “mixes” as well as some tips to make the most of your actions!

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Like many of you, I crave bright natural light but my house doesn’t always provide that. Light leaks can really brighten up the edges while a blue-toned filter can cool things down for a more editorial look.

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Often, the difference with actions can be very subtle. I wanted the snow to feel brighter and the photo to have a warmer tone but the overall effect isn’t all that dramatic — it’s about slight adjustments.

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Every once in awhile, a photo calls for extra drama and black and white actions can quickly add that impact.

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Using actions, I was able to punch up the citrus hues and really show off the hardwood floors here.

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

It’s not necessary to go overboard with actions just because you have dozens to choose from! A few slight tweaks just add to the overall atmosphere.

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Even in a great room, photos can feel a little flat. By adding the sun flare, the overhead light feels stronger and more welcoming.

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

Using dashes of color can can really tie the contents of an image together. I love this yellow spot!


5 Action Tips

Nubby Twiglet | Spice Up Your Blog With Photoshop Actions Plus 5 Tips To Make the Most Of Them!

If you’re a fan of actions like I am, here are five tips to make the most of them:

1. Don’t get intimidated.

If you’re new to actions, they’re ridiculously easy to use. This tutorial can have you up and running in a matter of minutes.

2. Study the style of others.

Take a look at the blogs you admire — what makes their photos stand out? Are they bright and airy or dark and moody? Are the tones saturated or subdued? Once you determine what you like visually, it will be easier to come up with your own style.

3. Develop your own unique mix.

For the most part, I never use a canned action as-is. I mix and match and develop a secret recipe. This is important for creating a signature look for your blog. On a daily basis, I always start with the same exact mix on each photo and then tweak it to bring out unique elements. Take the time to make your own blend — people will notice!

4. Don’t go crazy.

Just because you have dozens of actions at your fingertips doesn’t mean that you have to dip into each one! There are about five I default to at all times and then, for special occasions, I mix it up. If you add too many, the mix may become muddy and look amateur.

5. Simplicity equals a sense of timelessness.

Remember when Instagram came out and everyone applied heavy yellow-orange filters? Looking back now, those images look terribly dated….and I’m guilty of it, too. If you keep your processing very light and clean, it will age better as trends and tastes evolve.

I hope this study of actions has inspired you to come up with your own mix! If you have any questions about actions, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.


All actions: A Beautiful Mess.
All photos (except portrait): Shauna Haider. Portrait: Made U Look.

Think Pink: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Nubby Twiglet | Think Pink: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Chances are that you have a family member, friend or coworker who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I’ve partnered with Tieks and the American Cancer Society to wear pink and raise awareness.

Education on this subject is so important because:

• Every 19 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer.

• In the U.S., 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

• Every 15 minutes, a woman dies of breast cancer in the U.S.
 
• When breast cancer is detected early, the five year survival rate is over 95%.

The bottom line: we all need to be aware and the best way to do that is through early detection.


Special thanks to Tieks for making this post possible.

The Week In Pictures: 10.17.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Welcome to The Week in Pictures! How was your week? I managed to do quite a bit of of exploring around Portland — it’s always nice to get back in touch with your hometown and be reminded of the things you love after a few weeks away. I’m loving the change in weather and the chance to bundle up.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Chubs spent a few weeks away at grandma’s house while Joey and I were traveling and when he returned, he was noticeably plumper. He’s obviously trying to live up to his name. ;) I keep asking him if grandma was slipping him apple pie, mashed potatoes and gravy instead of the berries and almonds he usually gets fed at home.

It’s been interesting noticing how ingrained his instincts and mannerisms are since he’s never lived in the wild. He was a newborn when he fell down our chimney but still has typical squirrel characteristics which get very entertaining. He loves taking off with my pens and even funnier, when I have my hair pulled up, he climbs on top of my head and constantly buries nuts and crackers in it!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

My mom is so awesome — not only do we get to work together at Branch but she also really gets my personal style. When she surprised me with this mug, I was over the moon. It’s so nice to be surrounded with meaningful basics.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Last night, I took my aunt to one of my regular haunts, Jackknife. It’s dimly lit with dark walls and marble countertops, the playlist is fantastic and their happy hour menu is pretty great. My drink of choice is the Melrose Brown (Dewar’s, Appleton, lime, ginger and sparkling wine).

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This illustration on the side of Sizzle Pie cracks me up. Now, that’s a food pyramid I’ll gladly endorse!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I stopped by Nike to visit a friend for lunch and ended up spending the afternoon hanging out along….Lake Nike. Nike has a beautiful campus and the best cafeteria around — I’m always sad to leave.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I forgot to share this last week — I spotted this great floor somewhere in Chelsea last Monday. Major tile envy!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Have a wonderful weekend!

Link Love: 10.16.14

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love: Ciara Phelan

• Designers, if you’re wondering how much you should charge for a project, click here to find out!

• A must read: 10 things you need to learn to start living the life of your dreams.

• I love this simple DIY project: turn your kid’s scribbles (or even your own!) into modern art.

• Ever wonder how typefaces get their names? Tobias Frere-Jones explains it all.

• I’d somehow never heard of Morganna, baseball’s infamous kissing bandit!

• If you couldn’t be at Designer Vaca this year, Jaymee made a great little video that captures the experience perfectly.

• Holly Becker gives us her perspective on the New York Times When Blogging Becomes A Slog article.

• I love the idea of not having to carve pumpkins and these decorating ideas are great.

• Remember how relaxed life seemed before the pressure of social media and sharing everything online came along?

• Getting organized when you’re running your own business is essential. Kathleen shares some tips and resources for email, project management and time tracking.

• Garance Doré weighs in on Instagram vs. real life.

• Have you seen Norway’s new banknotes? Mini pieces of fine art!

• If you need to make flowers from the deli look expensive, here are a few fool-proof tricks.

• Megan shares her guide to Palm Springs which is also full of beautiful photos.


Photo: Ciara Phelan.
Check out more Link Love columns right here.

Announcing 2015 Dates For The Blogcademy…..And Level 2!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Blogging Workshop

As we begin to wrap up our classes for this year at The Blogcademy, we wanted to share our 2015 dates with you so you can start planning ahead for the new year. That’s not all, though — we’re also switching things up with an exciting new offering!

Alongside Level 1, which covers the nuts and bolts of blogging (and is a great place to start for beginners or anyone who wants to step up their online presence), we’ve just launched Level 2, a more specialized workshop dedicated to those of you who are determined to turn your blog into a legit business.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Blogging Workshop

Level 1

We’ve taught Level 1 to over 600 women across three continents and our two days together are dedicated to understanding the blogging basics. We cover the essentials including how to create killer content, the sure-fire format for crafting a standout about page, the fundamentals of advertising, the basics of branding, suggestions on how to diversity your income and more. For bloggers, understanding these basics is a necessity but for some of you, running a blog as a business is your primary goal.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Blogging Workshop

Level 2

Level 2 is dedicated to blogging for profit — it’s all about turning your blog into a business. In Level 2, we’ll cover how to set up your blog legally, how to find designers and developers that are a great fit, tips to manage day-to-day administration, what you need to know to hire great business help, how to figure out what to outsource, the keys to self-publishing and the types of digital products that really sell — along with the systems we recommend (and use!) to make them a reality. And, we’re also including a digest-style 40 page book that is packed with tips and cheat-sheets to make your transition as seamless as possible. We believe in not just talking the talk but also walking the walk — each of us runs a 6-figure business and can speak from experience about what has and hasn’t worked!

At the end of the second day, we’re opening the floor to you — you can either brainstorm business ideas with us or network with fellow blogcadettes. The choice is yours!


We’re bringing Level 2 to a handful of cities in 2015 (and all other dates are for Level 1):

2015 DATES

Los Angeles
February 25th & 26th

Los Angeles
LEVEL 2
February 28th & 29th

Austin
March 7th & 8th

London
June 13th & 14th

London
LEVEL 2
June 17th & 18th

San Francisco
September 15th & 16th

San Francisco
LEVEL 2
September 19th & 20th

New York
September 22nd & 23rd

New York
LEVEL 2
September 26th & 27th

Melbourne
December 1st & 2nd

Melbourne
LEVEL 2
December 5th & 6th

Sydney
December 9th & 10th


Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Blogging Workshop

If you’re not sure which workshop is a better fit for you, we’ve put together a chart of some of the basics to help you out. If you still need more information, we’ve got you covered — please check out our FAQ.

I’m looking forward to meeting even more of you in 2015…and teaching a new curriculum! Thanks for your continued support! -Shauna

Latest & Greatest #29: Succulents Paired With Unique Planters

Nubby Twiglet | Succulents Paired With Unique Planters

Have you mastered the art of caring for household plants? I haven’t! I’m totally guilty of having a black thumb — even ornamental grasses seem to die under my care. The ongoing issue is that I often travel for weeks at a time and naturally, when I get home, my plants are long gone. I’ve since turned to collecting succulents because most varieties need very little upkeep.

Nubby Twiglet | Succulents Paired With Unique Planters

To celebrate these new additions to my office, I picked up this great set of head planters. The boy sits one the far right of my desk while the girl sits on the far left. I have a bit of an obsession with white ceramic body parts so these are fitting right in!

Nubby Twiglet | Succulents Paired With Unique Planters width=

The funny thing is, I thought I’d finally solved my dying plant issue…but then Chubs came along! He hangs out with me in my office all day and guess what? Every time I turn around, he’s chomping down on my plants. And honestly, squirrels don’t take “no” very well. ;)


Your turn: Are there any new additions to your house or workspace that you’re excited about?

It’s A Jungle Out There: Our Weekend Inside A Plant-Filled Room at The Blogcademy Berlin!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Oh, Berlin. I’d been dreaming of visiting Germany ever since my parents brought me home my first pair of lederhosen in 1983. In high school, four years of German language classes only left me wanting more. So when we booked a Blogcademy Berlin workshop, I jumped for joy. When we arrived, it was everything I could have hoped for — the old buildings, new street art and curiously international mix of food tempted me to throw caution to the wind and spend the entire summer there.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

We held our class at a very hip co-working space called Agora Collective. Tucked back on a stone walkway full of apple trees, the venue was full of dozens of oversized plants, whitewashed walls, huge windows and a very unique kitchen with rotating chefs. Germans are known for being industrious and our area featured a tree branch re-imagined as a floating coat rack. Basically, this building housed the coolest office on the planet.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

We kicked off our class with a very international mix of ladies from Germany, Canada, South Africa, Belgium and Switzerland!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

The plant situation in Agora was completely out of control…and I loved it!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

One of the topics we repeatedly circle back around to is the myth of perfection. It has the potential to hold us back from what we really want to go after. We make a point of sharing how cringe-worthy our blogs were in the beginning because there’s nothing worse than thinking someone got from point A to point B overnight. It’s important to keep it real and provide you with a realistic outlook.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Sarah is so stylish! Her blog is fantastic, too — check it out!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Big smiles all around!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

As usual, our still life activity was my favorite part of the day — it’s so interesting to see what our ladies gather up and how their compositions all come out so differently from one another. If you’re in need of some tips, we also offer a Home School module on the subject!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Stay inspired, stay curious and keep an open mind. Go out and live your life…and then blog about it. If you’re sitting at your desk waiting for your next brilliant blog post to come, chances are slim that it’s ever going to happen!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

The easiest way to become the teacher’s pet? Hand-deliver gourmet chocolates from Switzerland!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

I was so sad to say goodbye to this class.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Thanks to our Berlin sponsors for the lovely goodie bag mix: Tattoo transfers by Hello Harriet, WordPress for Beginners books by Reeta Krishna, sparkly ears by Crown and Glory, branded pens by Go Promotional, tattoo transfers by Pepper Ink Vintage, paper decor by Strange Case, no-snag hair ties by Mane Message and notebooks by Veronica Dearly .

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

The rest of our 2014 classes are nearly sold out but don’t fret, 2015 dates will be launching soon! Thanks for coming along with me on this Berlin adventure. I’ve been preparing a little travel guide (with tons of photos!) for later this week — stay tuned!


Venue: Agora Collective.
Photographer: Shell de Mar.