The #CGScreative February Photo Challenge - an easy & fun way to grow your Instagram account

The #CGScreative February Photo Challenge - an easy & fun way to grow your Instagram account

There is no time like the present to grow your Instagram following, and I'm going to make it really easy for you! 

Introducing the CGScreative 30 Day Instagram Photo Challenge

This is the third challenge I have hosted over on Instagram, and I am delighted to invite you to join in the challenge for the month of August.

If you're wanting to learn tips on how to build a more cohesive feed, connect with like minded people and ultimately grow your Instagram following and influence, then you are definitely in the right place!

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THE #CGSCREATIVE August PHOTO CHALLENGE - AN EASY & FUN WAY TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT

THE #CGSCREATIVE August PHOTO CHALLENGE - AN EASY & FUN WAY TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT

There is no time like the present to grow your Instagram following, and I'm going to make it really easy for you! 

Introducing the CGScreative 30 Day Instagram Photo Challenge

This is the third challenge I have hosted over on Instagram, and I am delighted to invite you to join in the challenge for the month of August.

If you're wanting to learn tips on how to build a more cohesive feed, connect with like minded people and ultimately grow your Instagram following and influence, then you are definitely in the right place!

Read More

The #CGScreative Instagram Photo Challenge - An easy way to grow your Instagram Following!

The #CGScreative Instagram Photo Challenge - An easy way to grow your Instagram Following!

Has your Instagram feed also been taken over by posts asking you to turn on notifications? I know that a lot of people are rather upset by the latest changes announced by Instagram, but I'm here to tell you today that it's not going to be the end of the world for you.

It's also not a huge surprise that Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is implementing these changes. 

If you're not sure what the changes mean, here is a easy to digest summary of what has got everyone in a tizz.

Instagram is planning to show us the content it thinks we like, based on our previous actions (ie. our likes and comments). This means that it is now more important than ever to be liking and commenting on those accounts that you really love and want to follow, rather than engaging with accounts that you hope will follow you if you spam their feed enough.

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7 Days of Beautiful Skin...#CGSFaceMaskChallenge

#CGSFaceMaskChallenge Korean Beauty Sheet Masks

Last week I started up a fun Instagram challenge to help us combat the icy cold Korean wind and the havoc it wrecks on our skin. It's not just the outside elements that lead to dry skin, but even more so, it's the air-conditioners in our classrooms and apartments that leaves our skin feeling tight flaky.

I started a facemask challenge to make use of all those facemask most of us have lying around at home. I created the hahstag (#cgsfacemaskchallenge...the CGS stands for CityGirlSearching, the name of this blog) and then asked everyone to snap a photo of themselves with their face masks, and tag their photos with the hashtag for the challenge. I really didn't expect so many of my friends and followers to take up the challenge, and was blown away by all the photographs everyone uploaded. It was so much fun to see everyones different poses and to hear their views of the different face masks.

South Korea is famous for their 10 Step Beauty Routine (blog post to come soon!) and one of the steps that Korean women advocate is the use of a face (or rather, sheet) mask. You can buy these masks in every beauty store here in Korea, and they are so affordable, with prices ranging from W500 (+- US$.50) and upwards. The skincare stores here often have specials where you can pick up a pack of 10 for a few KRW1000. I used a mixture of masks from Innisfree (around W800 a pop) and my new favourite brand for sheet masks, Mamonde (each mask was about W1500). 

Korean Skincare Sheet Masks CityGirlSearching

At the start of the challenge I was worried that I would end up breaking out from using a different mask every night, but that didn't happen at all! Instead, the few pimples I had from recently changing my skin care routine cleared up dramatically and my skin felt baby soft and full of moisture every morning! I was shocked! Before this challenge I had used a sheet mask maybe once a month or so, but after using them every night for the past week I think I am going to start using them regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week. I was worried about the time it would take to apply the masks, but after the second day I was in a good routine and simply popped one on at night, carried in with whatever I was doing (watching series, doing he washing, eating dinner) and then took it off just before bed. 

My skin definitely looks brighter and I have no more annoying flaky bits of skin around my nose area. Another thing I have noticed is that my foundation and BB cream no longer 'sits' on top of my skin, but rather sinks in properly like it's supposed to. I was having to use a primer to prevent the foundation from streaking and and sitting in my pores, but now it goes on effortlessly and looks far more natural. I was even able to use a BB cream I had long ago cast aside because it was so thick and I was never able to get it to blend into my skin. These sheet masks are just the best thing!

Thank you to all the ladies below who took part in this challenge. I hope you all had as much fun as I did and that your skin loved the masks too. I think this needs to be an ongoing challenge, especially in winter!

How to get your first 1k followers on Instagram (+ 2 Free Printables!)

How to grow your instagram and how to get your first 1000 followers

I've been on Instagram for about 3 years now, and have only seen any kind of noticeable growth in my following in the last 6 months. I KNOW how frustrating it is to put so much effort and time into something, and then receive the bare minimum amount of engagement (especially when you know that at least half of those likes come from family and your best friends!). It took me a long time to get where I am today (and I'm still a baby in the big bad world of Instagram!) but I want to encourage you on your journey, wherever you may be right now.

While there is no secret, overnight trick to go from 0 - 1000 over night, today I want to share with you my strategies over the past year which got me to my first 1k.

1. Start tracking your numbers

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First things first. Grab a pen and paper (or even better, print out the free stats tracker I made just for you...it's waiting for you in The #CGScreative Resource Library) and write down exactly where you are right now. It doesn't matter if you have 5 followers on Instagram or 5000. You need to start somewhere and today is a good a day as any to begin YOUR journey.

I have also included place for you to write down your stats for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & your email list. It makes life easier having all your social media stats in one handy place. Then keep adding your stats every month (or even every few weeks). When I first started tracking my stats, I counted all numbers every week. It was very encouraging to see the numbers slowly creep up. I have included space for the 12 months of the year on the free printable above, but you can print a many as you need if you want to do it by week instead of month.

2. Write down your goals

As with any journey you need to know where you are going. You write down your 'dream' numbers and keep them small and easily attainable, or you can shoot for the stars and write down something outrageous. Don't get disheartened if you don't reach this number in a week, a month or even a year. The point of this exercise is to know where you are heading and where you want to be. You can put a date a date on your goals, but I find this doesn't end up motivating me, and I end up feeling like a failure if I haven't reached my goals by a certain date. I like to keep my goals open ended, as I want to keep growing and not stop what I'm doing even when I hit a target. Here's a free goal tracker printable to help you. You can write down whatever goals you have for your social media channels; things like hosting a giveaway/joining group boards on Pinterest are great goals to start growing your channels too.



3. Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags!

Hashtags WILL help you grow your following by making sure your photographs show up on searches. Before you tag your photo, think about what your photograph is showing/telling people. You want to make sure you use the right hashtags so that the right people find your feed. If you're little unsure of where to start, read this post on using different hashtags.

4. Be Social & Share the Love

If someone takes the time to comment on your photo, make sure to first reply to that comment, and then take a minute to head on over to their profile. If you like what you see, leave them a comment or two, or at the very least go and show their feed some love by liking some of their photographs. If you aren't actively engaging with other people, you're missing out on creating real, authentic connections with potential clients and potential business/blogging buddies. Think about your own feed. When someone simply likes one photo, how many times do you click on over to their feed? But think about when someone likes 5, 10, 20 of your images? How does that make you feel? Okay, it can sometimes feel like they are being a little spammy, but if they comment on your images as well as like them, chances are they genuinely enjoy what you are putting out there. So why not return the favor? It will increase your chances of being remembered by your followers as someone who is genuine and authentic, ie. they are more likely to then click over to your blog and read your content.

When you like an image on Instagram, that person gets a notification. If they have a big following, changes are they get so many notifications that your little like fades into the abyss. If you go and like 10 of their images, your name will appear 10 times in their notifications, making you stand out. I know that I click on profiles that leave me lots of likes (and I definitely click on profiles that leave comments). So why not use this to your advantage and make people want to click on your profile and follow you to see more.

5. Be Consistent with your brand

This step is the most important. Maintaining a consistent feed is what will help you stand out amongst the million of other users out there. Branding is a whole other kettle of fish, but on a basic level, if you want to convey your brand (whether that is the brand you are growing for your blog business or even just your own personal brand of who you are) you need to be consistent. 

When I first started using Instagram I was all about the Valencia filter; you know that brown, sepia filter that gave a vintage edge to every photo? That was all very well and good, but since then my own style has developed into something more feminine, clean and pretty. I now use a white (or at least a light) background for all my photographs and put more thought into what I want to share. If you are serious about growing your brand, you need to think hard about the image you want to convey to your followers. 

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about I want to share with you what happened to my Instagram followers a earlier this year.


At the beginning of May this year (2015)  I decided to take Instagram seriously. I wanted to use it as a tool to grow my blog, not just as a place to share photos of my dog. I started styling my photographs, using a white background, and just putting a bit more thought into my images. I also started to introduce more of my own photography work (you can see this in below image on the left). Slowly, I started gaining lots of new followers. By the end of July I had gained about 200 new, actively engaging followers. 

Then I went on holiday to Borneo

I wanted to share the exciting places we were seeing and things we were doing with my readers. I changed the hashtags I was using to fit in with travel, and even though I was getting more likes on my photographs, I lost nearly 50 followers in 2 weeks. I had no idea what was going on. Yes, Instagram does go through purges where they delete inactive & spam accounts, but to loose so many people had to mean that my followers weren't interested in what I was posting.

You see, people were following CityGirlSearching the lifestyle blogger who posted photographs of makeup, stationery and other pretty things. They hadn't chosen to follow CityGirlSearching the global traveler who posted photographs of beaches & exotic foods. 

It was hard to realise how fickle people can be, and to see such a decline in followers when I thought I was posting interesting new content. I realised I had to start thinking about my Instagram account as an extension of my brand, and not as a personal account. 


Lots of bloggers I follow have ended up creating multiple Instagram accounts to use for different purposes and I have been contemplating doing the same. They have one account for their blog or business, and another one to share personal photographs for family and friends. Right now I have enough social media channels to juggle without adding in a personal IG account, but it is something you may want to consider to help streamline your brand.

How to Grow your instagram following plus free printables by CityGirlSearching

There are a number of free apps to tell you how many people follow/unfollow you but I have just found they make me feel horrible about Instagram. I downloaded Trackgram which has a paid and free features, and I found it took all the love out of Instagram for me. When I actively see who has un-followed me, it makes me want to unfollow them, regardless of whether I like their Instagram account or not.It leaves a bad taste in my mouth being able to see who un-follows me, and it has made me feel very negative towards certain bloggers who I used to love and admire. So I would say us it with caution, or rather, don't use it all. You don't need to be reminded who exactly un follows you, you can get a broad overview of this yourself by looking at your Instagram numbers on your profile yourself.

I hope this post inspired you to tackle the big bad world of Instagram! If you have any questions about it, please feel free to leave me a comment below, I promise to get back to you.

Inspirational Instagram Profiles

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Instagram has been my favourite social media platform for a while now. When I first started I was following all sorts of random people. As the months went by I realised just how powerful Instagram is as a networking tool and I began to look for fellow creatives in my field (lifestyle/travel/beauty bloggers) to follow and I've built real friendships with a lot of them. I even collaborated with someone I met via Instagram on this Boho Bridal styled Wedding shoot (click here to see my photographs). 

A basic search will turn up loads of interesting new brands and people to follow, but I'm not so much interested in the huge corporations as I am the smaller business owners and creatives. I find the people who are in the same boat as I am, trying to take our blogs and businesses out into this big bad world and so much more real, more genuine, and ultimately so much more likely to spend time following you back or commenting and actively engaging in your work. I'm not sure about you but I know that I'd rather have 100 engaging followers than 100 000 fans who simply follow without knowing a single things about who the person is behind my brand. 

I find that the more relatable creatives I follow, the more I am inspired to create better content for my own feed and more my blog. Are there any Instagram profiles you absolutely love? Share them with me in the comments below. Even better than that, share your own profile below and I'll pop by and say hello. 

Here is small list of some of my current favourite profiles on Instagram, simply click each image to find them on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Fall For DIY

The #Hashtags you should be using on Instagram to get your photos noticed + FREE Printable Guide

When I first started using Instagram I was very afraid of the hashtag. I thought using them made me sound cheesy, like I was trying to be cool. But, having been an avid Instagram user for a while now I feel confident in saying that using hashtags will get you more likes and more followers and increase your engagement.

Why?

Well hashtags are a way of categorising your photographs so they are grouped together. This means you can look for things really easily. If you're a beauty blogger and you want to connect with and find other beauty bloggers you might use the following hashtags: #bblogger #beautyblogger #fotd (Face Of The Day)

By tagging your photographs with these hashtags you are ensuring your photo appears in anyones search for that particular subject. If you don't use hashtags, then the only people that can see your photos will be your followers. If you want to keep your photos private then you might deliberately choose not to use hashtags, but if you want to grow your blog/brand using hashtags will help your photographs be seen by more people. 

TIP: create a note on your phone with the hashtags you use most often (for me these are the hashtags under the 'lifestyle' heading below) and save it. That way you don't have to wrack your brains trying to remember all the hashtags and you can simply copy and paste them into the description box or comment below your photo.

There are hundreds of thousands of hashtags out there, and you can also make up your own like I did with #ShadowTheJindo & #WhatILoveMostAboutMarriage (although a few random people have popped on that one and started tagging their photographs with it so be open to the the idea that you can't 'own' a hashtag and anyone can tag their photographs with that particular tag and their photo will appear under it).

If you have a blog and want to create more of awareness for your brand as a blogger, why don't you consider starting a hashtag? It's not pretentious at all, see it rather as a way to connect with more people and to keep your ideas/photos categorised and easy to find. 

Here are some lists of the Hashtags I use when I post different things to Instagram. Some of them may seem obvious, but these are usually the tags that are widely used. Others I have found via searches and my own network of followers.

Beauty Products/Make up

  • #bblogger
  • #beautyblogger
  • #beautyjunkie
  • #beautyinkorea (if posting about a Korean product)
  • #southkoreanbeautyproducts
  • #skincare
  • #motd (makeup of the day)
  • #fotd (face of the day)
  • #beauty
  • #makeupaddict
  • #makeupjunkie

Nails

  • #notd (nails of the day)
  • #manimonday (when posting on a monday)
  • #manicure
  • #nailstagram
  • #instanail
  • #nailswag
  • #nailsofinstagram
  • #nailinspo

Dog

I had no idea that so many people had Jindos as pets until I started using hashtags! I found so many wonderful new friends to follow who share the same passion as I do for this unusual breed of dog. If you'd like to read more about our rescue pup, #ShadowTheJindo click here

  • #instajindo (or insta-  insert your dogs breed here)
  • #instapuppy
  • #dogsofinstagram
  • #woofwoof
  • #ilovemydog
  • #dogoftheday
  • #dogsagram 
  • #petsagram
What hashtags to use on Instagram

General Blog/Lifestyle Content

I have been using the following hashtags on all my photographs for the last 2 weeks and have noticed a general increase in engagement. These tags are really popular and are suited for lifestyle bloggers (those of use who post all sorts of content that doesn't always fit into one category).

  • #thatsdarling
  • #thehappynow
  • #petitejoys
  • #livecolorfully
  • #howyouglow
  • #myunicornlife
  • #abmlifeissweet (From the awesome blog A Beautiful Mess...there are a number of different hashtags you could use from A Beautiful Mess to connect with likeminded people)

The great thing about Instagram is that you can add new hashtags to your photographs after they have been posted and that way you can make sure to categorise even your older photographs. There are no hard and fast rules to Instagram so play around and have fun with your hashtags!

If you don't want to look like you are spamming Instagram with your hashtags you can post a few in the image description of your photo, and then post the rest of them in a comment under your photo. That way once people start commenting on your photo, your own comment with the hashtags will be pushed up to the top and hidden by the other comments. Its a little sneaky way to seem a little less brash while still getting your photos seen. 


To help you remember all of the hashtags mentioned in this post, I created a free cheat sheet just for you! This cheat sheet was created exclusively for members of my #CGScreative community. By joining this community of over 900 creatives you'll gain exclusive access to the CGScreative resource library. The resource library is filled with loads of worksheets, printables and what has made this community famous, beautiful stock photoraphs. Best of all, it's free to join! Simply click the image below to find out more:


What hashtags do you use when posting on Instagram? If you're on Instagram come by and say hello (@roxyhutton) I love making new friends there!

How to share Instagram photos to your Blog Facebook Page

HowToShareInstagramPhotosToBlogFacebookPage

Have you ever wondered where all those annoying hashtags on people's photographs on Facebook come from? The majority of the time those images have come from Instagram where those hashtags help you to get more followers and build a bigger audience. It can be a little annoying when people post the same thing on all their personal social media platforms but, what if you want to be able to do this for your blog or business Facebook page? It's super easy and I'm going to show you how.

Once you set this up on Instagram don't worry about flooding your Facebook feeds, you will still be given the option to share it onto Facebook/Twitter etc each time you upload a photo. 

Step 1 Click on the options wheel (on Android it will be 3 vertical dots, on a Windows phone it will be 3 horizontal dots in the top right hand corner) on your Instagram Page Feed

HowToShareInstagramPhotosToFacebook

Step 2: Scroll down your options page (or preferences page for a Windows phone) until you find Linked Accounts/Share Settings.

Step 3: Tap Facebook and then link your accounts by providing your Facebook login info

HowToSaveInstagramPhotosToFacebook

Step 4: Choose either your personal Facebook Timeline or one of your Blog/Business pages to link to

HowToSaveInstagramPhotosToFacebook

Step 5 Get Sharing! Now when you share your image, if you click 'Facebook' your image will be sent straight to your Blog Facebook Page.

HowToShareInstagramPhotosToFacebookBlogPage

And you're all done, easy peasy.

Happy posting!

How to save photos from Instagram

HowToSavePhotographsFromInstagram

If you're on Instagram, chances are you've tried at some time or another to save either your own photographs, or someones else's. And realised you can't. Instagram has done this deliberately (possible to help people maintain copy write of their work?) but whatever the reasons it's terribly frustrating when you want to use a picture you've uploaded and then realise you've deleted it off your phone and computer (note to self...BACKUP ALL your devices regularly!).

CityGirlSearchingInstagram

But have no fear, there is a way to download your photographs directly off Instagram. I know of two methods, one of them is online and you can do it straight from your computer (Instagrabbr) and this is the one I am talking about today. The other method I know about that seems really popular right now is the iPhone app Instagrab. Both platforms are free and super easy to use.  There are I'm sure lost of other ways that you but these two are the ones I have used. If you know of any other good apps or good ways to download your photographs please leave a comment below. 

Instagrabbr

1. Paste your Instagram username into the Instagrabbr box:

HowToSavePhotographsfromInstagramInstagrabbr

Your profile of images will pop up:

InstagrabbrHowToSavePhotogrpaphsfromInstagram

2. Click on an image you want to save. When it opens up, right click and 'Save As/Save Image As'. Or click the green 'save image' button underneath your photograph.

InstagrabbrhowTOSavePhotographsfromInstagrm

A super easy way to download photographs from Instagram. You can use the same method for different Instagram accounts, simply pop the username of the account you want to download photographs from into the Instrabbr box and bombs away!

Have you ever used Instagrabbr before? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

#summersplits2014 Yoga Challenge

Citygirlsearchingyogachallenge

After reading this post by Che from Indieberries I was super inspired to try out a yoga challenge and stretch my poor hamstrings which feel like loaded springs every morning. I have no idea why my hamstrings are always so tight, but they are and boy does that make my life difficult whenever I try any form of exercise. I read a rather funny description by someone somewhere that hamstring are like naughty children. Without the proper time, care and love every day, they revert to their bad behaviour every morning, and mine are as stubborn as stubborn gets. The days I stretch the most are the days they feel the tightest, naughty things. Anyway, let me get back on track here. I look nothing like Che (who looks like an elastic band than can stretch in any and all ways) but thats why I felt so inspired. We all have to start somewhere.

I have just finished the 30 day #summersplits2014 yoga challenge with @beachyogagirl and @kinoyoga on Instagram where at the beginning of the month they post a graphic with all the poses for the month. These were the poses for June:

SummerSplits2014YogaChallenge

You do the pose (along with as many other poses you want to do) snap a picture (Che recommends some good self timer apps here) and then upload it to Instagram and tag them in the picture as well as use the hashtag #summersplits2014 which was the hashtag for the June challenge. I can't say I can actually do the splits now, but I am so much more flexible than I was a month ago. And it took such a small part of my day, but left me energized and ready to take on  anything. I haven't noticed that much toning or change in my body, as I have been working out before the yoga sessions so I haven't noticed any drastic changes that haven't come from the exercise I was doing before, but my body feels different. My mind feels different, and it's a wonderful feeling. 

I did 25 out of the 30 poses, as I was just unable to do the head/hand stand poses without doing serious damage. The reason behind posting images on Instagram of yourself looking silly is so you can track your progress and connect with a wonderful and supportive community. You don't have to post the pictures, but I do encourage you to take photographs so you can look back and see how much you have improved. And you will improve. Everyday. By uploading my photographs I was put under pressure to keep doing so. And this pressure motivated me to do my poses every morning. Even 10 seconds spent in a pose does wonders for your flexibility, circulation and general health. So don't think that you need to spend 2 hours on the mat to start seeing results. If you are diligent, and at least do the one pose outlined everyday, you will notice all sorts of changes in your body. I now look forward to my time on the mat, and use it as a time to relax and mentally prepare for the day ahead.

CityGirlSearchingYogaChallenge_0003.jpg

Do you enjoy yoga? Have you ever tried a yoga challenge before? I'd love to hear from you!

February through Instagram

March has just arrived, and with it the first signs of spring. All of our colleagues have said this has been the mildest winter they have had in years, especially in our small town out in the country. But, for me I have had to layer up all day everyday and as soon as I arrive at school I have had to spend half an hour thawing in front of the heater. The temperatures haven't been excessively cold (to my poor South African body they sure have felt excessive) but it's been the wind chill that has made it worse.

But yesterday we had a balmy 12 degree (Celsius) high and I removed my down jacket for the first time during the day...yippee! I might soon be able to stop wearing my gloves to bed!

Here is a little look back at some Instagram snaps from last month:

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IPhoneography

I recently wrote a guest post for the wonderful lifestyle blog A Bubbly Life written by the very sweet Laurel. In it I wrote all about my favorite two apps for editing photographs on your phone. I wanted to share the post here with all of you, and to tell you that I am going to be introducing you to another fantastic FREE app later on this week. You don't want to miss this one, it's like Instagram & A Beautiful Mess combined…it's beautiful. But for today, here is a quick post on tips for photography using just your phone.

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As a blogger, I have come to really appreciate the true value of good quality photographs, and since getting my first 'proper' camera (the Canon pictured above) a few years ago I can really see the difference the photographs have made to my blog from a professional point of view. But, carrying a big, heavy camera around all day just to capture my coffee dates just get frustrating. And then I have to fiddle and play around with the settings to get the light just right, and never mind the editing that comes afterwards.

But, after getting my first iPhone last year, I cannot tell you how it has revolutionized my blogging. I am able to quickly snap bits of pretty-ness as I walk to work, sit at my desk and especially, while out and about with friends.

I can edit, add text and upload them to my blog in a matter of seconds. AMAZING!

Today I want to share with you my two favourite apps for blogging. I hope you find them useful. I have mentioned them both on numerous occasions on my blog and Facebook page, and that's because I think the are just wonderful.

One of them is only for the iPhone (Instagram) but A Beautiful Mess is for Android users too. If you know of any other great apps that you love to use, please pop me a comment below.

Happy Snapping!

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Instagram has been around for a while, but it is still one of my absolute favourite apps for quick and easy editing on my iPhone. When posting photographs to my instagram feed I try and use the same filter so ensure consistency with my brand. It also looks a lot neater and is easier on the eyes when my photographs have a similar feel to them. But that is completely up to you, you can go wild with the filters and frames available and are only limited by your imagination! Download Instagram for free through Itunes.

Here are some images I've edited using the Valencia filter:

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When you take photographs on your phone, play around with angles and make use of as much natural light as you can. Using a flash really takes away from the natural feel of your photographs and makes the look plain and artificial. Natural light is softer and more forgiving on people and products.

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A Beautiful Mess is a photo editing app designed and developed my one of my favourite blogs...A Beautiful Mess. This app allows you to add backgrounds, make collages, add text, add cute doodles and frames and change the colour of each of those elements. Its super easy to use and the results are pretty amazing. I often get readers asking how I add all these effects to my photos, and it's so simple. This app has also recently been released for Android users. You can download it through the Itunes store for .99c

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All of the photographs above were taken with my iPhone 4S. Nothing too fancy, but with a little bit of time and thought, you can really make your pictures pop! Do you have any other tips for taking great photographs with your phone?

Look out for my new favorite app coming to the blog soon.

November through Instagram

So December is here, and has been for a week already. Goodness me. Christmas is now right around the corner. Have you got your Christmas gifts sorted yet? I'll be posting some online shopping ideas in the next few weeks, as well as some fun DIY ideas to get you in the festive mood. Have you been opening an advent calendar to count down the days? Have a look at this fun DIY I got up to a few weeks ago.

AND it's nearly all systems go for my new website and store! Feels like I have been talking about it for months (well, I really have) but not the day is nearly here...I am so excited to share with you a whole new level of pretty-ness. 

Watch this space!

x

Here is a little look back at some Instagram snaps from November...our trip to see the Autumn leaves, I wrote all about blogging and where to begin in our {Creative Business} series started by my fellow blogger friend Caitlyn, and of course stationery, stationery and more pretty stationery...

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October through Instagram

And so another month has come and gone. We are enjoying the beautiful Autumn colours and falling leaves here in South Korea (we don't get anything like the colours here back home in South Africa) and so have been going a little nuts over the reds and the yellow hues. But, it means winter is fast approaching, and apparently our little town of Buan gets a ton of snow. Brrrrr!

But, at least the snow makes pretty pictures (trying to look on the bright side here!) and it also means a new, big and fluffy feather duvet is a completely justified purchase, right??

Heres to a new month full of opportunity. Happy November everyone.

x

 

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A weekend in Pohang, South Korea

This past weekend Farmboy and I headed to the city of Pohang which is on the eastern side of South Korea. We met up with some new friends, Laura and Richard (who are just the nicest and coolest people ever...they both lived and worked in Hollywood...and have loads of stories about all the celebrities that ate in the restaurants they worked at. How cool is that?!). I am going to be sharing some gorgeous photographs I took of them soon! Laura also writes a hilarious blog about life here in Korea...click here to visit her blog.

Here are a few Instagram snaps of our whirlwind weekend (it was a 5 hour bus journey to get to them from us here in little ol' Buan, and so many a nap was taken, and the evidence is below. I became a cushion for Farmboy, I'm sure that should have been the other way around?). We ate lots of delicious (that does not include the bug larvae!) food and had a wonderful weekend away. We also spent our first night in a Love Motel (but thats a post for another day).

Enjoy!

x

September through Instagram

 We are in the second week of October already, and it's starting to get very chilly here in South Korea. I miss last months lazy Autumn evenings, wearing pretty dresses with no need for a cardigan. Now its straight into jackets and scarves and hoodies and boots!

So long September.

x

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How to edit photographs for Instagram

When I first got on the Instagram train I was intimated by all the incredible images on my feed. Never in a million years did I think I would ever get more than one like (thanks hubby!) and never did I think people would comment and tell me they loved my feed. 

I'm still learning as I go, but here are a few tips that I hope you'll find useful. 

The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me was this: "If you're feeling uninspired, find images that you feel drawn to and try and recreate them". You'll stimulate your creativity and learn just how to create the images that you enjoy looking at. Then use that knowledge to create your own original material. 

I recreate images I love for my own personal use, I don't want to infringe on anyones copy write, but at the same time we all have to start somewhere, and thats a pretty good place to start.

Here are a few tips of how to take your photographs and what apps I use to edit. The photograph on the left is the original image, and the one on the right is the 'after' product.

All of the photos below were taken with my iPhone 4s.

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Think carefully about what you want to photograph. Think about the different angles you can take the photograph. Think about using/not using props, as well as your background. Some of the most beautiful images I have seen have plain, white backgrounds that don't distract.

Then snap, snap snap. Take 2 photo's of the same thing, heavens go ahead and take 100! Each time try change one thing and then look at which ones you like the best.

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Natural light works wonders! Try placing objects near a window for soft, natural looking images. Bright natural light when enhanced with Instagram effects, for example Valencia, will give you a similar look and feel to these two images below. 

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I mainly use the wonderful A Beautiful Messapp when editing for Instagram. It's one of my favourite apps for adding text, frames and cute doodles onto photographs. A lot of the images in my Instagram feed have been edited in the A Beautiful Mess app, and then uploaded to Instagram and run through different effects until I am happy

A Beautiful Mess app can be found on the Itunes store (click here). The app itself costs $.99 and is packed full of features. You can purchase additional effects/doodles/borders/text easily through the app itself. I have the basic $.99 version and its perfect for what I need.

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To see more of my photographs on Instagram, follow along @roxypearce.

I hope you've found this helpful, if you have any questions please pop me a comment below.

Happy snapping!

xxx

August through Instagram

A quick recap of August as seen through my iPhone & Instagram...we visited a dog cafe in Seoul, went to Malaysia, I did nail art with my kiddies at school, shopped up a storm at Forever 21washi taped my laptop charger and went on a fascinating teachers trip to Dokdo Island

How was your August?

x

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A trip to Korea's most prized possession...Dokdo Island {Instagram}

Farmboy and I were lucky enough to be selected to join a small group of other English Teachers here in South Korea on a trip to Dokdo Island. Dokdo Island is currently part of South Korea territory, but there is constant unrest between Korea and Japan as to who it really belongs to. Us "Foreigners" really had no idea just how patriotic South Koreans feel about the Island, and this trip really opened our eyes to their passion and fighting spirit to keep Dodko Korean.

It was an incredible opportunity that a mere 1% of all South Koreans will ever get a chance to actually see and experience, and for that we are so grateful. The trip was 4 days and 3 nights, full of very long bus trips and ferry rides, strange meals for breakfast and sleeping on the floor. But we were rewarded with spectacular scenery, history, culture and powerful understanding.

Here are a few of my Instagram snaps from the trip.

Enjoy!

x

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Snaps from Seoul

Just before our early morning flight to Malaysia (we spent a week on the Perhenetian Islands for our summer holidays here) we spent the night in the capital of South Korea, Seoul.

 Here are a few iPhone snaps of here and there (including a few of the Dog Cafe we visited...click here if you missed the post!).

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