Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tips & Tools: How I do a Blog Post

t and t tuesday
A while back one of my readers suggested I do some posts on blogging for beginners. And of course, after the idea started rolling around in my head, a few of the big blogs I follow did the same thing! And I started self doubting… what do I have to share? Who am I to try to tell anyone how to blog?… you know, the usual mental game we girls play. I’ll give you links later to these great blogging series, but for know I’m going to share about something I feel like I’ve learned a lot about: making a good blog post.

I’m pretty proud of my first blog post for Made it on Monday about a tucked in onesie shirt I made for Jace (found HERE). I think it helped that I already had three blogs between work and family. But craft blogging is a whole different blog game. Check out the difference in picture style from this post to this post.

So let’s go through my creative process for how I make a blog post. And note: I do not have a nice DSLR camera (my point in shoot is nice though), I do not have Photoshop, and I do not have  Mac. I do have Windows 7 though.

2011-04-16 004

The idea comes first. And then I make it and love it and can’t wait to share it with you all. Depending on how extensive the project was, the blog post may be just as much work as the project. You all get to see the nice finished product because the photo quality is good. You get to appreciate the necklace in the picture because you aren’t distracted by odd lighting and a cluttered bathroom counter, or the fact that I’m wearing pajama pants, right?

Capture 5

Yup, this is what my original picture looked like. But, thanks to Windows Live Photo Gallery, I can touch it up quite a bit! When you first open your picture in this program you’re in viewer mode. Simply click on “Edit, Organize or Share” in the top left corner and your screen will look like this:

Capture 5

My first step is to crop the picture. This allows you to cut out all the excess. You don’t need to see that I use the Costco brand toilet paper or that my towel is almost falling off the rack. And you really don’t need to see my PJ pants.

Picture2

In the cropping tool menu I love the “Rotate Frame” Option. I then just select the part of my picture I actually want to show you and…

Picture1
Wow! So much better (note: in this one, I have already adjusted colors and exposure. But more on that next…).

Here’s another example of improving a picture by cropping. This time I didn’t have to rotate the frame but I still wanted to get rid of some of the excess in the picture.

Capture

See, so much better!

Capture 2

The quality of my colors could use some fixing at this point. So I click on the Adjust Exposure tab on the right. I’ve found some of the same steps work every time, and then I just do a little minor adjusting. Of course, Auto Adjust is always an option, but I typically like the results of my manual adjusting better. I seriously do this for all our family photos now too!

Capture 3

I slide “Contrast” all the way to the right and “Highlights” all the way to the left. If it looks good, I stop there. With outdoor pictures, I usually then play with Shadows a bit, scootching it to the right until it’s just how I want it. Brightness is very helpful when your picture is just too dark. Sometimes with my entry way or bathroom pictures I also play with the Adjust Color option. Just have fun messing with the settings. Windows Live Photo Gallery is nice because you can always revert to your original.

Once I have all my pictures edited and fixed up, I use my second favorite program on Windows 7: Windows Live Writer. It’s a great blogging tool. You just set it up for your blog (or multiple blogs: I have it set up for both this one and my family blog) and write away!

(See the final necklace post HERE)

live writer

Live Writer gives you so much more flexibility than doing it directly through Blogger (if that’s the one you use). I can upload pictures a lot easier, change up my order in a snap, and resize without getting frustrated. In this program I can select a picture and type in what I want the width to be rather than getting stuck playing with code or having to follow their standard small, medium, large and extra large. Hyperlinks are a snap, and I can even crop pictures. I seriously LOVE this program. The only thing I haven’t been able to figure out is inserting HTML code for something like a blog button, so I just publish my post and then edit directly in blogger to add it in.

I also use the schedule post option a lot… I don’t really get up at 6 am to blog! I love my sleep too much. But I’ll share more about that on a later day.

***Update: If you are posting directly from Blogger you can schedule posts (I just didn't have time when writing this to write out all the steps). While in edit mode, click on the "Post Options" just above the Publish Post button and below labels. Then, on the right hand side, under "Post Date and Time" select "Set Date and Time" and write in what date and time you want your post to go live. This is especially great if you want to get several posts written at one time. Often times, I'll write three or four posts on a Sunday and get them scheduled for the rest of the week.***

So there’s a quick, picturing focused walk through for how I blog. Do you have any favorite tools that you use? Questions? Suggestions?

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip- would you, or anyone else reading this happen to know a tool like Live Writer that would work for MAC? I really hate writing my post through blogger! And do you know if you can schedule release through blogger, or is that just on Live Writer?

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  2. I use picnik.com to put a watermark on my photos. That's the only advice I have though! I'm too new to this thing!

    Thanks as always for the Tips & Tools!

    ~Kristi

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  3. Great post! I have always posted directly through blogger and found the photo part a real pain. I will try Live Writer for my next post. Thank you!

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  4. Thank you for the tutorial. I'm signed up with the writer program and will use it soon. I've often been frustrated with blogging and hope this will help. I love your projects and you talent, thanks for sharing! (By the way, I love your hair!)

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  5. Hi, I just wanted to see if you would try and contact the give away winner to get her address. I sent a message to the email address you gave me, on the day you sent it, but have not heard back yet. I don't know if my message ended up in spam or if maybe she did email me and my yahoo is being bad. Thanks, I have the headbands ready to ship.

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  6. Love your blog! It would be great if you came and linked some of your ideas to Lovely Little Snippets!
    lovelylittlesnippets.blogspot.com

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I appreciate comments so much! I'll do my best to reply to you here in the comments section, especially if there is a question so future readers can see the answer.