Monday, July 30, 2018

5 iPhone Camera Tips I Wish I'd Known...

5 Camera Tips I Wish I'd Known When I Started Blogging

Yes, I use my iPhone for all my photography.  When I first started my blog and sharing my photo's on social media, I didn't have a clue about my iPhone camera.  I considered buying a real camera several times, but when I would ask "what camera do you use?", I would hear over and over again, I use my smart phone. 

 I want you to know that I DO NOT CLAIM to be an expert.  I have no photography training.  These are tips that I've gathered over the last year and a half from different online sources, blogs and from the iPhone manual.  Recently, I've been more of a student.  I've taken some challenges presented to me to become a better photographer with my iPhone.  I've actually surprised myself with some of the results.  I feel certain that most of these tips will apply to any smart phone, however my experience is with the iPhone.  So with that being said, here are the 5 tips that I've personally implemented into my iPhone photography for sharing on social media.  


Always take several photo's of your subject using the phone camera!  What?  I thought that was what we were talking about!  What I mean is don't take the photo from within the social media app.  You will not have the editing control that you do with the iPhone camera.  Also, professional photographer's take 100's of shots to capture one that's perfect.  This may sound so simple but a lot of posts are one shot and done.


Focus and Exposure are automatically built into your phones camera.  However, as smart as your camera is, it doesn't know what your subject is.  You have to touch your finger to the subject on the screen to show where you want the camera to focus.  Then you can adjust the exposure by moving your finger up or down.

 If you plan to take several shots, you will want to lock the focus by holding your finger on the screen until the AE AF Box appears at the top of the screen.  This will keep the focus until you are done with that subject.

This is particularly important information when taking interior shots.  If the light is coming into the room through a window, the exposure will be set based on the light in the window automatically.  This leaves the rest of the room in the dark.  So you will want to touch your finger to a dark area and set the exposure (by sliding your finger up on the screen) so that that area of the room is visible.  Also, don't over expose the shot.  You can always increase the exposure when you edit the photo.  

This photo was taken without adjusting the exposure

Here I placed my finger on the darkest area of the screen and slide my finger up until the exposure was revealing the items on the table more clearly.  


Don't Zoom!  Don't Flash!  Ok that's two tips!  When you Zoom, you will reduce your resolution.  This has been a huge mistake for me.  Instead of using the zoom, you want to get as close to your subject as possible.  When you can't get as close as you would like, take the photo anyway and then during the editing process, CROP.   This is something that I rarely did until recently.  Cropping will reduce the resolution as well, but not as drastically as the zoom will.  You can purchase zoom lens attachments for your iPhone camera.   This is something I've not invested in.  Most of my photography is home décor, so I've not felt the need for this added zoom.  I've seen OOWA and Olloclip recommended.  Again, I don't have personal experience with them.

Using natural light is best for all photography.  The flash will almost always overexpose the subject.  Just don't use it.    

Here is an example of cropping the photo to bring the subject in closer.  If I had gotten this close to him, his head would have disappeared.


Use a tripod and remote shutter control.  This is one of the best tips I've implemented in my home décor photography.  Here are some reasons why:  #1 - you will not have blurry photo's when the camera is steady.  #2 - you can get level with your subject just by adjusting the tripod up or down.  No more getting down on your knees or lying on the floor.  It's best to be level with your subject, especially when photographing home décor.  Here is a link to the tripod I use.  It comes with a wireless remote control camera shutter for smartphones.  It's light weight and so inexpensive.  I highly recommend it.

Fully extended, the tri-pod measures 49 inches tall

It collapses to only 16 inches long

Wireless Remote Control Camera Shutter for Smartphones
Is include with tri-pod
This assures not movement when snapping the photo.

If you don't want to use a remote shutter control.  You can use the volume button on your iPhone to snap a picture.  Be sure that your body is as stable as possible by spreading your feet apart and hold the phone level with your subject for a more appealing view.  One mistake most people make is holding the phone eye level when snapping the photo.


Edit your photos!!!  I recommend using one of the many apps available to edit.  I personally use Aviery.  It's very easy for an amateur like myself to navigate and I feel I have a lot of control with this app.  I also have Snapseed and find it simple as well.  Lightroom CC is another highly recommended editing tool.  I personally haven't taken the time to get comfortable with it.   Remember, to crop your photo's to edit out undesirable content.  I try to use the same basic edits with all my photo's to keep them somewhat consistent.  

I hope these tips are helpful to you.  I wish I had known these simple tips when I first began sharing on Social Medial and writing my blog.  Hopefully, I will replace the original photo's on my blog one day.  For now, I'll just move forward and try to implement these tips into my future posts.  

I do encourage you to try these tips and practice.  I've known some of these tips for some time but I really started to GET IT when I started practicing.  

Have a great day! 

xoxo, Rachel   


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

DYI - Vintage Sign

How to create a Vintage Sign

I love vintage business signs but they are hard to find.  So I decided to make my own.  Since I was making one from scratch, the options were unlimited.  However, once I really thought about it, the sign I wanted may have never existed.  I've asked my brother's but they don't remember a sign.  

My dad built these three ponds and for a few years, had them open to the public for fishing.  The charge was $1.00.  

I can remember fishing there myself as a little girl, but not the people coming to fish.   As we have been bringing the property back to life, I thought the perfect sign would be the one that "could" have been there over 50 years ago.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

DIY Topiaries


DIY Topiary Tutorial

 As I was planning my spring and summer porch decor, I decided that I wanted my porch to have a garden feel.   I wanted to add some fun topiaries to the design.  However, as I began to search for the perfect topiaries, I was disappointed.

Then I was walking through Hobby Lobby I spotted these cute little mini stems that I decided would make my perfect topiaries.  They were 50% off  and I also found some cute pots that were 50% off.  So this is the result of my topiary attempt.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

DIY Aged Terra Cotta Pots

Love the look of old pots? 

I've been setting up my first official potting bench and decided that aged pots would look great!
Have you checked out the prices of these lovely container's?  So, I've been making my own with some trial and error.  These are some of the results and step by step instructions on my favorites.

Step one

You will need::
Clay pots
Black or Brown paint (I used graphite chalk paint by Annie Sloan)
Mod Podge
Multi-purpose glue 
moss (small bag from Hobby Lobby)
paint brush
tooth pick (to spread the glue to desired areas)
40-60 grit sandpaper

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Crazy thing about living a simple life

Simplify - to reduce to basic essentials!

"Easier said than done"

Yes, when my husband and I decided we wanted to simplify, we decided to move to our country property, The Ponds.   

We would downsize to a smaller home!  Yes!

All of this sounded great!  We put our home on the market and waited.  Once it finally sold, we started the process of getting rid of everything but our basic essentials.  I get very attached to things that I've rescued over the years.  With that being said, I find a lot of things essential.  

Fast forward - we decide to build an industrial farmhouse.  You can read about my love of old farmhouses here.  

We move into the house with these grand plans to keep the house very basic and simple!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Creating Spring Tablescapes on a dime

A pretty spring table

Find something to inspire your creation

This Easter Tablescape was created using yard sale and thrift store items.  No single item on the table was more than $10.00.  Many items I've had and collected over the years.  I also, find a lot of great deals online and they are delivered right to my door.  See some of my favorite finds here.   If you don't have a large collection to pull from, begin to keep your eye open and visit thrift stores and consignment shops for some of the best deals.  If you like a vintage look, there are some great reproductions available through online retailer's such as Bits of Vintage and Decor Steals

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Refresh for Less - Inspired Guest Bedroom

Guest Bedroom Inspiration

Spring Refresh 

This year when I started looking for spring inspiration for my guest bedroom, I turned to the vintage bird prints that I inherited from my aunt.  

I had always loved the greens and pinks in these prints but was not currently using them.  

I decided to paint the frames with Old White Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan and hang them over the guest bed.  

I hung the prints over the bed, leaving the vintage ceiling tin in place.  
I love mixing vintage with vintage!  LOL   

Seriously, not everything I use in my decor is vintage.  The tray came from Walmart, but I filled it with some of my vintage pieces and it works.  

I had three accent pillows that I had previously used (in another home) in my breakfast area.  I loved the shades of pink in them as well.  So I decided to pull out the pink for spring.  

I found some fun fabric at Walmart and made the pillow covers and the throw.  Instead of storing the pillows I already had on the bed, I just covered them with these new pillow covers.  When I want to change the room again, I'll just remove the covers.  

I also purchased some coordinating yarn for the tassels on the throw.  

I love the mix here!  Birds, florals, black, white, and pink all feel like spring to me.

Restyling doesn't have to cost a fortune

This complete refresh cost less than $12.00. 

When planning a change in your decor, start with what you already have and try to imagine using items in a different space. 

Think about items you are not using.  I didn't think I wanted to use the bird prints in my farmhouse and now they are one of my favorite things.  

A little refresh with paint can be amazing for something that you think looks dated or out of style.  

Sometimes we loose sight of the beauty in what we already have because it's been used in the same space for so long.

Take everything out of a room and then start adding back.  It's amazing how that will open your mind to new possibilities.  

As the tulips began to fade, I replaced them with this cute bunny for Easter.  Miss Bunny say's Hi and have fun decorating for spring and Easter.  

Have a blessed Easter,

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spring Porch Decor

The Porch Is Ready For Spring

When I was putting away my Christmas Holiday Decor, I just couldn't make myself store the shutter's.  I loved using them with the galvanized tubs at Christmas.  So I was excited to see these hanging baskets with a cute little welcome tag.  

I just filled my tubs with pansies (for the early spring) and placed a grapevine wreath around the rim of the tub.  Then I placed the shutter at the back of the tub and just leaned it against the house.  

The hanging baskets I ordered from Amazon and hung at the bottom of the light fixtures.  Then off the Hobby Lobby for some floral stems.  

I also added some fresh stems from the yard and can replace them as other flowers and stems begin to grow this summer.

So this was a simple and inexpensive update for spring.  By adding just one new piece to the porch and rearranging what I had used for the holidays, the porch is ready for spring.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Planning a Forever Home

Things to remember when building/remodeling your forever home

I was speaking with a young friend a few days ago and she is in the process of planning a new home for her family.  As we talked, I shared some things that my husband and I did as we were planning our forever home.  I thought some of these ideas might be valuable to other's planning a new home or remodeling an existing home. 

Our forever home

Make a list

When we decided we wanted to downsize and start living a more simple life style, we had to make some hard choices. We also wanted to build this house and be debt free.  In order to do this we had to be budget minded.
What do we want to keep in our new life style and what can we live without?
So the first thing we did was take an inventory of all the things about our current (much to big) home that we loved and would miss.  Where did we spend our time and what's worth the money? What are the things we don't want to live without.

Friday, February 16, 2018

DIY Hutch Makeover

From Blah to Farm style!

The search for the perfect size hutch is finally over.   My daughter has a very limited amount of space for a hutch in her dining room.  With a limited budget, we have been searching thrift stores for months to find the perfect piece.  

Not many people would walk past this lovely hutch!  But the "before" was a different story.   The piece was very dated and the glass shelves were missing.  However, it was a solid wood piece and the price was perfect.  

Only $50.00  SCORE

Friday, February 2, 2018

Touches of Romance

Happy February!  

Just a few pics to share how I add a little romantic feel to the house this month!

I don't add a lot of Valentines Day décor.  Just little small touches for me.  

First, my pantry door, with the chalk board section, is my go to for seasonal change.  

All I've done so far is add a heart.  That may change the closer to the big heart day we get.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Winter Decor Tips - Beat the Winter Blah's

Winter Décor

How to decorate for winter when you have the after Christmas Blah's!

Let's put that house back together

After the holiday's it's hard to get your décor mojo back.  After all the shiny ornaments and color, everything feels dull and Blah!  

So how can you get your home back into photo worthy shape and not spend a fortune doing so?  

Here are a few of my favorite ideas for winter décor, plus a few Instagram friends shared their best ideas as well.  

One universal tip was to shop your own home.  You probably have  a pile of décor items in a closet that you stored to make room for holiday décor.  I suggest pulling everything out and think outside the box.  Don't place everything back where it was.  Open yourself to new ideas.  I love using items in unusual places.