​How I Edit My Travel Photos With VSCO 

To have a spectacular feed on Instagram, you definitely need spectacular photos. And, for that, you don’t have to necessarily have high-end equipment or software. A good photo is only a great edit away from becoming Instagram worthy.
This is how I edit my travel photos on my phone using VSCO. Used is a picture I had clicked from a moving bus while I was travelling in Switzerland. It was clicked using a Samsung Galaxy A7.

1. Exposure

First up, let’s be careful about the exposure. I usually play in the range of 0.5 to 1.5. But, it totally depends on the picture and the kind of mood you want to create.

2. Colors / Saturation 

Most pictures that I click using my phone have a decent color tone. However, I often experiment with saturation to see if it can get any better. Here, as you can see, the color is still dull. So, I’m going to increase it a bit.

You can definitely see the difference. The picture looks much more alive than before.

3. Sharpening

Since this picture was taken while I was in a moving bus, it is not completely sharp. So, I’m going to make it sharper using the sharpening tool. Do not sharpen it too much since that will make your picture look too artificial. Here, I’m making it somewhere around 2.5.

4. Filters

I absolutely love most of the filters on VSCO and they do a great job in creating the right mood. I usually use HB1, HB2, KK1 or M3.

Here, for this picture, I am going to use HB2.

You can also decide how strong you want the filter to be. I almost always reduce it a bit to make sure it still looks natural.

5. Fade

Fade is one of my most used tools because it gives the picture a very tumblr-ish look. But, you can skip this if you want the colors to look rich.

I’m going for a 7.6 for this picture. As you can see the colors are still looking rich and it has changed the mood of the picture to a great extent.

That’s pretty much it. I don’t use a lot of tools because it makes the picture look artificial. Another tool that I didn’t use here but I often do is the Crop tool. I use it when the picture is not symmetrical enough. But, again, it is totally subjective.

Here’s a before and after picture for you to see the changes.

All you need is a decent picture, a phone and VSCO!

Comment below if you like these tips and definitely share your methods.

Creativity and What Ignites It

A lot of people ask me this question, “So, how do you create something that’s so unique? How do you write?” Well, it is difficult to give an answer that truly satisfies these questions. Probably because there is no fixed process that leads to creation. I draw inspiration from a range of things and creativity happens to be a result of them. I think it exists in all of us in varied quantities. It is how we harness it or how we amplify it that makes all the difference.

A few days ago, I wondered if it is the same for people who belong to the creative spectrum. So, out of sheer curiosity, I asked them their take on creativity and the place where they find the creative fuel. Here’s what they had to say –

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Maybe, it just happens. (Sourced image)

(Only first names for privacy purposes)

  1. Lucy, College Graduate, Australia

“Creativity for me means expressing oneself in a variety of ways. For different people that may mean different things; for one person it might be photography, another it might be a dance; the list goes on. It means having an outlet to communicate your feelings, experiences or views and putting that out into the world and contributing to creativity around you. There isn’t a set thing that makes me want to create something, but ultimately whatever it is it has to speak to me. With that being said, I would say visual things make me want to create as I can tangibly see what is front of me and then use that to describe or portray feelings. I also find that experiences in life that impact me profoundly can also ignite the desire to create.”

I also find that experiences in life that impact me profoundly can also ignite the desire to create.

2. Aisha, Writer, Michigan

“Creativity means a sense of liveliness and childhood to me. I feel like adults, we lose creativity and become too constructed. I create things, such as poetry and art, when I want to feel alive again and do something different to keep life interesting day-to-day.”

3. Taniya, Student of English Literature, Delhi, India

“For me, creativity is a way of expressing things that I am incapable of, otherwise. It is like a window into one’s soul. I often land up in a position where I become incapable of conveying my innermost feelings. Feelings which might not be acceptable or are too crucial to be spoken of. Such thoughts, over a period of time, become a burden that is needed to be lifted off the shoulders. This is the safest way to do it, create something that helps you out your thoughts across.”

4. Alen, Student, Kerala, India

“It is like catching a cold during a trip. Destroys your trip until you are healed. Most of the times, I stumble into it. Unknowingly, just like catching a cold.”

5. Orenda, Writer and Communications Officer, Canada

“Creativity is the embodiment of who I am as a human being – my likes and dislikes, who I care about, my experiences and in turn, how I see the world. I think it only takes any kind of inspiration, whether it be from watching a movie or a random thought in my head, to make me want to create something. We live in such an expansive universe, it’d be almost a shame to not create something because of it.”

We live in such an expansive universe, it’d be almost a shame to not create something because of it.

6. Sneha, Writer, India

“Creativity for me means freedom. I’m not confined to a box, I have an entire universe to create with.”

7. Fauziya, Writer and Aspiring Vocalist, Mumbai, India

“Creativity to me is like the smoke that has escaped into thin air. You wouldn’t know where it came from and where it went to, but it did have its effect on you. That profound effect that shakes you to the marrow of your bones. I never set out in search of a poem. I just sit back and let it come to me. Like a patient spectator, I watch my poems unfold in a haze of trance. And that’s the thing about creativity, it gives me the patience I never can practice otherwise.

Like a patient spectator, I watch my poems unfold in a haze of trance. And that’s the thing about creativity, it gives me the patience I never can practice otherwise.

Creativity, it is like a loyal dog who wanders the world, prances in the wild, barks at the edges of the mountains and then comes to me at the end of the day with a bagful of magical stories.”

8. Karishma, Writer, Mumbai, India

“I wish I could define creativity for you, but that’s the beauty of it. It can’t be arranged into perfect words that can cover all the corners it stretches to or sources from. For me, it only takes curiosity, experiences, and endless questions to create something. Maybe creativity lies in the constant quest of figuring things out. And expressing that same curiosity which moves people to reflect or ponder upon. At its core, my best guess to creativity is that it lies in the effort to establish a connection, and to communicate that connection furthermore.”

9. Savira, Student, Indonesia

“For me, creativity means showing your true colours without being afraid of being different or without trying to be like others. What makes me want to create something is anything that makes me feel, anything that makes me emotional.”

10. Carolyn, Student, Monmouth, United States

“Creativity for me is the byproduct of my passion and drive.”

11. Parth, Graphic Designer, Mumbai, India

“Creativity to me is liberation. Liberation of your thoughts caged inside your body for so long. Negative and positive thoughts both. Creative things can’t be discriminated as right or wrong. They’re just to be looked through some perspective. Good art doesn’t need to be liked or disliked. It has to be felt. Good art speaks for itself. Fear makes me create. The fear of being unproductive. The fear of achieving nothing. The fear of not expressing. The fear of wasting life on nothingness.”

12. Shreya, Account Head in an Advertising Agency, Surat, India

“Creativity is not restricting your colour only to the palette. Not limiting to dictionaries, when you are short of wordplay. Not setting benchmarks to your endless imagination.
Not obeying rules of ‘what has been going on’ and’ this has to be done this way’ Not seeing outside the box, but building shapes inside it. Not reading between the lines, but living through it. Not being a perfectionist, but doing things your own way. Not being someone else, but leaving parts of you in everything you do. The major impetus for me, for creating something, is to leave an imprint. That lets people connect, believe and question the obvious.  I want to let them introspect, I want to let them wander, I want them to be lost and then find themselves again.  In a new light, in a better version, every day.”

Indeed, the definition varies for everyone. But, there’s one thing that is similar; all of us have creativity in us in some way or the other. It is only about the fuel that inspires us to create something the world has never seen before.

Find your fuel. Create something.

(I am grateful to everyone who contributed to this, even the ones who are not on the list! Unfortunately, because of the word limit, I could feature only 12 people!)

The only thing you should break this year is monotony

 

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Same old, same old? Not this year. Image source.

I’ve been seeking inspiration for a while now. Being a creative professional, to keep your creative juices flowing all the time is taxing. But, I am not complaining and that’s not the problem I am scared of. The real villain is someone else. It’s monotony.

Routine is fine but not being stirred enough to create something new is dangerous, especially when you’re in the creative field. The lack of inspiration that arises from doing the same tasks every day makes it more difficult for you to craft new ideas. Before it takes a toll on our lives, here are some things you must incorporate into your routine to keep monotony at bay.

One new thing, every day

It is not as difficult as it sounds. A busy schedule is no excuse for making no room for new things. However, this might need some planning. Plan a day before – what’s that one new thing you are going to do tomorrow? It could be something simple. Trying out a new place. Having lunch at a different spot. Change in music. A conversation with someone new. A different flavour of coffee. A game of tennis. Driving to a new restaurant. You get the drill.

The day-cutter

It sounds odd, but it is interesting. Cut your day in the middle and eat inspiration. How do you do that? It’s simple. A 10-minute break can be utilised in multiple ways. Carry a book to work that deals with something that has nothing to do with your life. A book on biology, economics and so on. Read up on a subject that is worlds apart from what you do. It gives you a different perspective and is a good distractor in the middle of the day. If you are not a reader, engage in videos. YouTube is a huge library of interesting subjects. Watch a travelogue. It inspires like nothing else.

Off work? Create something

No doubt, you are creating something at work. But, once at home, make some time to create something for yourself and this time – it doesn’t have to serve a purpose. It could be anything – a paragraph on a person you met, poetry, food, a song or whatever you are capable of. Doing this every day might be difficult but make sure you do this once in a while. It ensures monotony doesn’t get too close to you. Besides, there is no harm in doodling a dog.

Inspiring stories every week

You can literally thrive on this part. I have, for the longest time, made it a point to introduce new inspiring stories to my life, time and again. Everyone can give you a piece of inspiration if you listen. It can be your colleague, your boss or an old friend. If nothing, you can find books and movies that deal with inspiring stories. The last movie that inspired me the most was “Steve Jobs” and the book was “Damn Good Advice” by George Louis. Be hungry for stories. It will never make you feel uninspired.

Find a purpose

This part could be the most difficult or the easiest one to do. But, once you have it, there’s no way monotony will make your life its home. Look for a purpose in what you do every day. It should be something that drives you to wake up and get to work. A purpose to create something. A purpose to bring a change. A purpose to get better. This year, find a purpose and kick monotony out of your life.

Let 2017 be a year full of new things. Let it be everything but monotonous.