I take my photos with a Canon Rebel T3i and the EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens – the blogger special. That combo is a gem. But having a decent camera and lens (and good lighting) is only one of many aspects that make an appealing finished product. I use a variety of photo editing software on both my laptop and my phone to tinker about before I’m ready to put my photos up for your guys’ eyes.

Computer Programs: 

This is most definitely not to be confused with the application “Paint.” My magical tech friend showed me this program and I will be forever grateful to him for that. Firstly it’s free (though there is an option to donate) and secondly it’s incredibly user friendly. This is like an ultra paired down version of Photoshop. You can resize your photos here in order to make them a manageable size. You can also adjust the canvas size – a good way to crop your photo without losing your aspect ratio. Plus, like everything else I’m about to mention you can do basic adjustments here, such as altering the brightness and contrast levels. 

Gimp is another free editing software program. It’s a much larger and complex program than Paint.net and it’s a lot more similar to Photoshop. I don’t often use Gimp because it can be more finicky, but there are fine tuning bits that you can do on Gimp that you can’t always do on Paint.net. It’s worth downloading it and having a play around. I have found Gimp to be particularly useful in creating banner art.

If you want to add filters and light effects to your photos without having to use a phone/tablet then XnRetro seems to be the most useful thing around. The filters aren’t great, but the light effects are decent and you can adjust the colour balance and brightness of photos quite easily here.

Soo this is not photo editing software, as I’m sure you know, but it’s integral for the next bit. If you do not already have Dropbox installed on your computer and phone then DO IT. It’s such a quick way to transfer information. I just pick the photo I want to use on my computer and throw it in my Dropbox folder, then I open up my Dropbox app on my phone and from there I can import it into a photo editing app. Easy peasy.

Phone/tablet apps:

I think it’s definitely worth running your photos through a good editing app on the phone/tablet. They just don’t make them as good for computer operating systems. VSCO is awesome and free. There are a few handy filters. The T1 filter (ie. the Lipstickwithsomesunshine filter) in particular is nice because it adds a faded, flattened effect to your photos. You can also adjust the brightness, colour temperature, fade, sharpness, etc on easily here.

This is the only tool that I actually paid for (not that I wouldn’t pay for the others) and it’s so worth the money. It has everything that you could need. It’s like VSCO cam with a ton of other options. There are more realistically usable filters, there are beautiful light effects and there are even dusty textures that you can overlay. And like VSCO cam you can adjust your brightness, colour temperature, fade and other bits here.

Final tip:

I recommend saving your photo as a PNG file before uploading it to your blog. I’ve found that Blogger (and I think Wordpress too) overlays a gray tinge to JPG files. Saving it as a PNG will ensure it shows up bright and crisp on your site.


  1. Oooh thanks for the tip about PNG and JPG files! Also I also use those two editing apps - they are just my go to!

  2. Thank you so much for these tips! I will definitely keep them in mind. Thank you again for sharing :)


  3. Great post Holly! Dropbox, VSCO Cam and PNG for sure!!! :D


  4. I also use Gimp to create banners, but it is quite tricky to get the hang of, and usually ends up with me being very frustrated when it doesn't do what i want it to do! The PNG file tip is brilliant, I'd never have thought about doing that! I use Aviary to edit my images, the app is particularly good at sharpening my pictures up a bit, because I only use my phone to take pictures

    Victoria x


  5. Yeah if you're getting frustrated with Gimp I would highly recommend paint.net. It's so much easier to use and you can do almost as much on it.

  6. They seem to be a go to for lots of people, but for a very good reason.

  7. Great tips! I've recently been using Gimp recently and it's been very similar to Photoshop...but free!! :) There are some quirks to it that take time, but it's a learning curve!

  8. Hi Holly!

    Just stumbled upon your blog and its beautiful! :) I too have the same camera & lens. However i find it difficult to take pictures when i have many products to fit in one frame. Like this one on your blog - Summer glow pic . Do you use the kit lens or the 50mm lens for these kind of pics? :)

    Thanks again! xoxo
    - Chaitra | PinkPot

  9. I've been so out of touch with the online world and am having along overdue catch up with some of my favourite blogs. Yours is so beautiful by the way! After some time out I am starting to get back into my blog. It's my first time using a DSLR and I am busy trying to get things just right- I will definitely be bookmarking this post!


  10. Oh never knew about the jpg png thing. Thanks for the tip! Yeah gimp is a bit complex, I prefer to use that for making gifs xD

    Sheri | Behind The Frames

  11. I just came across your blog and I love it! I've been working really hard on the quality of my photos lately and this really helped me, thank you for sharing your tips.


  12. I always use the EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens because it's a lot brighter and creates a nicer effect. But getting everything in the shot is a challenge for me too. I basically just stand on a chair and awkwardly try to hold the camera as high up as a can.

  13. Awesome! Hopefully you'll find something here useful in time!

  14. I've always thought my photos come up a bit greyish on Blogger. I'm definitely going to use your tip and save my photos as a PNG file and see if it makes a difference :) Beautiful blog xx


  15. Yeah I have no idea why they overlay the shadowing, but it drives me nuts. Especially because PNGs are way bigger files.

  16. Such an awesome post with such useful advice. I had my notebook out and have lots of notes. Thank you! Found you through Jennypurr by the way... She was right. Great blog! x

  17. I never knew that about Wordpress overlaying a gray tinge to JPG files! I'm going to try to save and upload my blog photos as PNGs now. Thanks for the tip~!

  18. Love your suggestions! You should try using Flickr for uploading your blog photos. With Bloggers uploader you lose quality to all of your photos (no matter how you save them), but Flickr uploads at 100%!

  19. *Meant to say, I also use the same lens for all my photos (with the T2i)...sure, it gets awkward, but it's magic ;)

  20. Love this! I'm going to have a look at the programs you mentioned :) I love VSCO Cam! Thanks for the tip about the file format! xx


  21. Thank you so much for this! :)

    By the way, I'm also new to this world of blogging, so it would mean a world to me if anyone checked out my blog and followed if you like it? Thanks!


  22. Thanks for pointing out about what saving jpg files into Blogger can do. I noticed that on some of my images but didn't know how to fix it. I will try your suggestion to save them as PNG from now on! Another online program I love to use is Picmonkey. They do offer it for free but I like to pay since they offer some more fonts and cool tools. It isn't too expensive either and simple tool to use. Thanks again for sharing your tips!


  23. I was just looking for something I could use to edit my photos. Thanks!
    xo, Rachel


  24. Love your sharing. Here is also another photo editor software I want to share with you!
    Hope it helps.