Blogging slumps. It seems like every single blogger gets into them sometimes (if you don’t, are you even human?), and when you do, it’s one of the most frustrating feelings. I know I absolutely hate having no inspiration for my blog, because I love my blog - it’s my baby! Blogging is one of my favourite things to do, so if I can’t... it’s not fun! I think I’ve seen a lot of people recently who feel like they’re in a bit of a runt, so here are some tips to help you out:
As you may know, as well as blogging, I really love to use Instagram to share pictures the books I'm reading and loving. In almost all of my recent blog posts, I have included some pictures from my Instagram page, because I find my aesthetic there is pretty similar. Today I'm going to share how I edit all my photos for free!
When most people share how they edit their photos, it's systematic, and almost definitely, they use Photoshop. I don't have Photoshop (all of my banners are made using Fotor!), so I edit all my photos on my phone, using free apps. Obviously this is a lot cheaper, but it's also more convenient for Instagram, because I can upload them straight to Instagram from VSCO. You can get VSCO for free on most phones/tablets, but if you're really serious about it, you can pay extra for some filters (which I don't). I think this would be pretty pointless, because the free filters do look stunning!
When I first started using VSCO, I was totally overwhelmed, and so confused by the UI. It's very minimalist, so the icons can be very confusing because they don't look like what they do (in my opinion, anyway!). I upload my pictures to VSCO straight from my camera roll because honestly, I have no idea how to do it from the app.
I always edit the colours/structure of the picture before adding a filter, because then I can get it exactly how I want it.
Some people here would do the edits in a special order, but I just do them in the order of the icons! First I will change the exposure. I usually do +1, and that's what I'm going to do for this picture, because it's a little dark.
Depending on the lighting, I would -1 the contrast if it's a particularly bright day, but I took this photo on an overcast day, so I don't think the contrast needs changing. I then skip a few of the icons until I get to the sharpen tool, which is probably one of my favourites! I take all my photos on my phone, so the quality isn't that great, so the sharpen tool makes them look so much clearer.
I had to reach up high to take this photo, so my phone was probably wobbling around a bit, and it's not the clearest. So for this photo, I've changed the sharpen to +7 to make it seem clearer and to get the full detail of the book! (because come on, this cover is so pretty!)
I then use the saturation tool. Most people hate this, or only use it in negatives, but it's actually one of my favourites for editing photos. You have to be careful how heavily you saturate your pictures, but I find it makes them feel warmer and brighter, if you use the right amount. I use saturation on all my photos!
I find it works best with reds, and this photo has a lot of red in it, so I've used quite a lot: +3.
I then fiddle around a little with the highlights save, and shadows save, I don't really know what they do, just that they change the lighting a little! I find the shadows save tends to make my pictures feel calmer, which I really like, so I usually do +2/+3 of that.
Next I alter the temperature. This is so important, because the saturation makes my photos feel too warm, so I usually make them feel colder. It loses some of the brightness, but the colours still pop, which I really like! The combination of these two tools work really well for me - it's important to find balance because they're so strong, but I love how they work together.
I then use the tint feature. I don't really know what it's actually meant to be used for, except it makes the photo a little more blue-ey. I really like this! I usually do +1 or +2, so my pictures feel a little bit more mellow and calm.
The final things I do are add a filter, and crop my photo! I've tried out all the filters, and my favourite is HB1. I tend to do around +5 on this, so all my pictures match on my feed. I will then crop out the bad bits, so make the book more central!
By Sabaa Tahir
Source: Harper Voyager UK (thank you!)
Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf - the Empire's most secure and dangerous prison - to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars' survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene - Elias's former friend and the Empire's newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus's will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own - one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape... and kill them both.
By Jennifer L. Armentrout
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.