This past weekend Jacob and I were lucky enough to spend the evening with my friend and amazing photographer, Alex. Since graduating from The University of Iowa this spring (Go Hawks!), Alex has been diving into her photography full force. Check out her website here!

I wore this dress last year for graduation and was so excited to wear it again. While my dress is no longer available, I linked some similar dresses along with accessories below.

  

While I’m a little late for graduation ideas, white or ivory are great to keep in mind because they will look good with any cap and gown. Obviously black is a classic choice as well. A white shift dress like the ones below are perfect for a wedding shower, engagement party, rehearsal dinner…you get the idea.

  1. Lord & Taylor Scalloped Lace Shift Dress
  2. Kohl’s Lace Shift Dress
  3. Kohl’s Lace Shift Dress – Additional sizes
  4. Earrings
  5. Bracelet
  6. Sandals

To see the second outfit we wore, click to Alex’s post here.

(Alex’s magical unicorn photos versus the iPhone) Thanks for such a fun evening, Alex!

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I take all of my pictures on my iPhone 5C. The best compliment I ever received was someone telling me my pictures looked “professional.” My roommates laugh when they watch me take my pictures because it’s typically in my pajamas in a little corner sitting on the floor.

In case you missed Tuesdays post, I have 5 Tips to Better Blogging. Here are the 5 biggest tips I have to help you take “professional” pictures:

1. Good Lighting

Have a window? You have lighting. This will take some trial and error for you to find the ideal time of day based on which way your window faces. I take my photos in my roommate’s room (thank you, Meg Dee for letting your bedroom serve as my “studio”) between 10am-1pm. Any later and I need to do a little more editing to brighten them up. If you work and don’t have the luxury of being at home at an ideal time, I suggest stocking up on the weekend and taking your pictures then. Most of the time, this is what I do anyway. If you do need artificial lighting, I suggest a bathroom or kitchen where the lights are brightest/can be adjusted.

2. White Out

A white backdrop for pictures lets the subject shine. My setup? Typically the Lack IKEA side table and a poster board for 50 cents. That’s it. Have a friend help to hold the poster board for a white background, it makes for the most professional looking photos.

3. Editing

These are the apps I use to edit on my phone:

  • IMG_7378iPhoto: I don’t use iPhoto very often but it is nice to have for some editing needs.
  • InstaSize: For using the entirety of a horizontal picture and fitting it into a square size
  • Picfx: Tons of fun filters
  • ABM: Adds cute borders, words, and doodles
  • Facetune: A great face editor and I use the “whiten” feature to white out my poster board when it has a blue cast to it if I hit some bad lighting

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IMG_7381*These photos were edited in Facetune and text was added in ABM

4. Practice

Take lots of pictures. When you’re bored, instead of mindlessly sitting on Facebook, edit pictures. Play with filters and see how you can manipulate the original and even over edit to learn what is too much. Just practice.

5. Post

In the beginning, you need to think about your audience and attracting the most attention. Instagram? Post in the morning – people check this first thing when they wake up. Pinterest? Post at night – most are on here when watching TV in the evening.

I hope that these tips and tricks are helpful. Remember, at some point you have to just stop second guessing yourself and just post it. Yes, there will come a point and time when you look back on your old photos and want to delete them but you should take this as a good sign that you are improving!