Urban Pixxels » Connecting the dots in a new city

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Blogshop at Home | Photoshop for Bloggers (the online version)
See what I just did there, in the picture above? A week ago that would have taken me ages. And it probably wouldn’t have looked like this. I find it hard to believe, but it looks like I’m finally ‘getting’ Photoshop. At least the basics that I need for my blog. All thanks to two crazy talented women and an online course called Blogshop at Home.

I remember the first time I heard about Blogshop. It was my first week in London and I was at Meet the Blogger, the weekend I decided to start my own blog. The week after, some were going to another event for bloggers, but this time to learn about Photoshop. When I saw this video, I knew that that was exactly what I needed. But I had just missed the one time they were in London!

Anything digital usually doesn’t scare me, but I’ve always found Photoshop just too overwhelming. I saw what others were doing with it, but then every time I opened an image in Photoshop I had no idea where to start or what to do. The only reason I still had Photoshop on my computer was because of my favorite editing tool, but I wasn’t using 99,9% of its features.

Blogshop at Home | Photoshop for Bloggers (the online version)

How much can change in just one weekend! Blogshop now also offers Blogshop at Home, an online course over a 2-day period from the comfort of your own home. The only thing that’s missing is that incredible goodie bag.

What I learned at Blogshop at Home

I had some doubts before signing up. The thought Is that all? even crossed my mind. But summing up a list of the tricks they teach you doesn’t do this course justice. The video is 3.5 hours long, but with all the pauses to practice yourself, rewinding to check if you fully understand what they’re doing, and typing out notes (10 pages of tips and tricks – small font!), you’ll spend about a day and a half learning about Photoshop.

So without making a complete list of all the things you’ll learn, here’s my top 5:

  1. Creating templates: you know how I usually place two portrait photos next to each other? Well, I had figured out a way to do that, but with a Photoshop template this is going to save me so much time!
  2. Using shapes: placing a photo into a shape (like the example on my screen in the first photo) and then adding some interesting effects. It’s not that difficult if you know how to do it… and I do now.
  3. Masking: which is when you replace a part of one photo with a similar part (that’s looking better) from another photo. That felt like serious Photoshop magic! I don’t want to use too many tricks in my photos to keep it real, but this can change a photo from good to great.
  4. Retouching: Flawless skin in every photo from now on!
  5. Animated GIFs: I don’t see myself using this on my blog anytime soon, but they’re so much fun to make.

Should you do it?

I realize it’s a lot of money, but if you’re like me and you have all these ideas of what your blog should look like, but you don’t know how to do it… then YES! I’m still no Photoshop expert, and I don’t need to be. But for bloggers this is just what you need. Still not convinced? Then have a look at what other Blogshop students have to say:

Street Feast Dalston Yard
Cocktail Shed serving gin cocktails at Street Feast Dalston Yard
Street Feast Dalston Yard
Street Feast Dalston Yard Beer Bar
Street Feast Dalston Yard Bar
Pizza Pilgrims Street Pizzeria at Street Feast Dalston Yard
Instagramming Pizza Pilgrims Street Pizzeria Street-Feast at Dalston Yard

It might be pouring while I’m writing this, but there’s no denying… summer is here. I had signed up for Blogshop at Home this weekend which means I was tied to my computer most of the time in an apartment without air-conditioning. So I was really looking forward to going out on Saturday evening.

But with this weather you don’t want to sit in a restaurant (no matter how good their air-conditioning is). There’s something much better these days in London: Street Feast. Every Friday and Saturday until 27th September you can get the most amazing street food at Dalston Yard.

I’ve been to a couple of these night food markets now, but this is my favorite so far. It’s bigger, more relaxed, and everybody’s just having fun. There are even covered (it’s still London after all) and seated areas, so you don’t have to eat standing up all the time. And the food of course…Wow! That’s some serious high quality street feasting. Pizza Pilgrims Street Pizzeria served the best pizza I’ve had in a long time right out of their wood-fire oven. And with a rotating line-up of food traders there’s always something new to discover and taste.

We were pretty hungry when we arrived, and tried as much as we could, but I’ll need to come back a couple more times to try the rest. Let’s hope we’ll get many more of those summer nights!

Review of the ONA Bowery Bag in Antique Cognac Leather

Finding the perfect camera bag is not easy. Especially for women. You don’t wear the same shoes with every outfit. And the same goes for camera bags: different occasions ask for different camera bags.

My life in camera bags:

  1. Crumpler camera backpack: I had just bought a new camera, so I needed a bag. This was a very sturdy, high quality bag, but didn’t have a lot of space to carry stuff other than your camera equipment.
  2. Crumpler messenger bag: I went on a trip where I had to bring both my camera, my laptop plus a lot of other things. The bag was huge… and I never used it again after this trip.
  3. Lowepro backpack: For my trip to Namibia I wanted to bring a backpack, but one that would also fit a lot of other things. This was a great bag, exactly what I needed.
  4. Lowepro Passport Sling: When you’re not camping or traveling through the desert, you don’t want to look like a tourist with your backpack. You can fold this bag so it’s easy to bring as a day bag in your suitcase. Or I only use its removable insert in a ‘regular’ handbag to protect my camera. I’ve used this bag the most and I still love it.
  5. Kelly Moore Libby Bag: One thing that all these bags are not is ladylike. And if you want to travel in style, you need an appropriate camera bag. Kelly Moore designs camera bags for women and they’re beautiful. I often carry this bag with me on business trips when I want to bring my camera. The only downside is that it’s quite heavy, so I always leave it in the hotel room.

Review of the ONA Bowery Bag in Antique Cognac Leather
Review of the ONA Bowery Bag in Antique Cognac Leather
Camera bag number six: the ONA Bowery

After five bags, you’d think that I was about covered for every situation. Yes, I thought so too… Until I moved to London and started blogging. I now like to bring my camera everywhere I go while still trying to look a little bit stylish. I wanted a leather bag, that didn’t look like a camera bag, and one just big enough to fit my London city basic essentials: camera, iPhone, wallet and oyster card.

And I found him (her? it?). The ONA Bowery is the perfect bag for me in London. I instantly fell in love with the one in antique cognac leather. Because it’s such soft leather it does scratch very easily, but that also gives it that nice ‘antique look’.

Review of the ONA Bowery Bag in Antique Cognac Leather

Review of the ONA Bowery Bag in Antique Cognac Leather

What’s in the bag?

The ONA Bowery fits my Nikon D80 with a small lens attached and then there’s enough space for either a second lens (which I never bring with me walking around the city) or some small items like your wallet, phone, sunglasses or keys.

It has two exterior pockets under the flap, where I usually put my oyster card, and two small ones on the side. You could fit your phone in here, but you’ll have a hard time getting it out (and probably miss the call). Then there’s another exterior pocket on the back which fits my iPad mini (although it sticks out a little bit).

It’s exactly what I was looking for, so I don’t think I’ll need another camera bag for a while. But you know how it goes with having a bag addiction… So, out of curiosity, what camera bag are you using?


Note: All photos of me were taken by my friend Sandra: check out her Instagram account!