Tag Archives: photographs

Pixelating a Photo in Picmonkey

pixel pic

We are Re-sharing this post as it is our most popular post on Blogging, so just incase you missed it, here it is….

PicMonkey is a great photo editing website that is easy to use and free. There are lots of great effects that you can use when you are editing pictures and it is well worth having a play with, there are hours of fun to be had. In this post I’m going to show you how to pixelate a section of a photo. What this means is you can distort a portion of the picture, like the face or maybe a landmark, making a person or area unidentifiable. This can be useful if you want to post images on your blog that include your children.

  • So first things first go to the site www.picmonkey.com
  • On the home page click on Edit a Photo
  • This will open your files on your computer and you can scroll to find the picture you would like to edit.
  • Select the photo you wish to work on and click open, this will move the image into PicMonkey and your screen should look like the image below.

picmonkey2

  • Select the second icon down on the left hand side of the screen, the little chemistry bottle representing EFFECTS (highlighted in the red circle above)
  • Scroll down through the side bar of EFFECTS until you reach AREA and click on FOCAL PIXELATE 
  • Your screen will now look like the image below

Pic monkey

  • The normal settings for this effect is to pixelate the whole image and provide one clear area, what you want to do is pixelate a small area and keep the rest clear, so first click REVERSE EFFECT.
  • Hover the mouse over your photo and a circle will appear, move the circle to cover the area you want to pixelate.
  • Slide bars on the left hand side will allow you to change the size of the circle and the size of the pixels. The large the pixels the more distorted the image will be.
  • Once you are happy with the image click APPLY
  • Now Save the image onto your computer, selection the SAVE option above the image.
  • You will need to select where you save the image on your computer and it likes you to add .jpg after the name of the image.
  • Once stored in a file you can now upload the image onto your blog.

 

 

Picture Ourselves

Here Suddenly Mummy shares memories of her family and recognises, through her reflections, the importance of identity…..

A picture

There were three photograph albums created of my parents’ wedding back in the early 70s. I now have two of them in my possession. They are quite beautiful really in their black and white simplicity. My mum peeps out from behind the thick rims of her glasses looking rather like Nana Mouskouri. My dad is thinner than I ever knew him, extremely clean-shaven, slightly gawky in his wedding-day suit.

In one shot, the camera peeps through a keyhole at a young couple kissing. There is the church, the flowers, the guests, the promise of a future.

Of course, once a marriage dissolves, the number of people who care to keep such reminders dwindles. I don’t remember whose unwanted albums I now have, whether my parents’ or my two sets of grandparents’. Both my parents have new spouses and new albums now and it seems as though I am the only one to whom those  aging collections of images hold any meaning. I keep them in their original boxes in a little-used cupboard. Almost guilty secrets.

My parents officially separated when I was thirteen, and divorced a year after that. Fairly soon after they had both moved on to new partners. I was the only child of their marriage. My older half-sister, although legally adopted by my Dad, was quick to take sides in the divorce and soon took to calling the man we had both called Daddy by his first name only as if he was a stranger to her.

In the space of a few months, my Mum moved out, my sister emigrated, my paternal grandmother who had lived with us for seven years got her own place, our house was sold. Some of these people never saw each other again. For years after, the only link between these people who had lived as family, who had been family, was me, standing there like an unavoidable monument to a dead marriage.

A couple of years after the divorce, while looking for something or other in my Mum’s cupboards, I came across a plastic bag stuffed full of little paper and plastic wallets. Photographs.

Hungrily, I opened each wallet, spilling them all out around me on the floor. Pictures of my Mum with my sister as a baby before my Dad and I ever were. Pictures of me as a baby, of all of us, on holiday, in the garden, Christmas, birthdays, smiling, group shots awkwardly posed with background landmarks, Stonehenge, the Houses of Parliament, various seasides.

Nobody was home so I took my time, picking through them, checking the back of each one for dates, names, places. Instinctively I knew that I had to take some of them, to keep them safe, to be the person that treasured this past that nobody else seemed to want anymore. I stole them. I made a collection then that I still have today – not so many that anybody would notice, but enough so that I had my own timeline of our lives in pictures.

My stepmum knew both my parents before they were married. She hadn’t been my stepmum long before she told me that my parents’ marriage was in trouble from the start. Even when I was a babe in arms, the love between them was gone. From the moment I heard that I longed to know that my parents did indeed love each other; that my Mum married my Dad for love and not because he was safe and ordinary and boring, the opposite of her first husband, or because he was prepared to take on my fatherless sister and raise her as his own.

I longed to know that I was conceived and carried and birthed with love. I asked my sister once. She said yes, they loved each other. I don’t know whether I really believed her.

And this is just a divorce. Such a common thing these days that it hardly merits a mention. Compared to the disruption and dislocation of adoption, it’s almost nothing. I got to grow up knowing both my parents, knowing who I was and where I came from. I have had to put some work into accepting that identity and valuing it, but where I have had a winding journey, my son will have an uphill battle that will probably continue for his whole life.

Sometimes I admit I roll my eyes a little at some of the things said and done in the name of ‘identity’. I am impatient. I want to move on, get on with our lives. But one day my son will want to see the pictures, will ask whether he was conceived, carried and birthed with love. He will want to know that his origins are not a dirty secret or an embarrassment that everyone wants to brush under the carpet. Because, although it may be far from a fairy tale, the story of my son’s origins is the story of him. That school picture of his dad, those few photos of him and his birth mum, the tiny collection of toys that the social workers gathered from her abandoned home, the little trainers that I would never have chosen for him – these are all he has of a past that belongs only to him.

I am grateful that I met my son’s birth mother many times. I will be able to speak of her with warmth and compassion and understanding. It has often seemed to me that I am the only person to willingly remember the history that gave rise to my existence. I hope that my son never feels that way.

Festive Fun with PicMonkey

MerryXmasAs you know we like a little bit of creative fun here at The Adoption Social, and we really enjoy using the website PicMonkey to design images. It’s especially fun around special holidays, when there is always lots of new applications to try out.  An now there is a great new application on there site, which allows you to create designs without editing a photograph, like the image above.

Here I’ll show you how to access the Design tool and use it, and as a way of inspiring you all to have a go we’re going to run a little competition. You can win  Three months of Royale Membership for Pic Monkey, which gives you access to all the tools the site can offer.

All you have to do is design a festive image using any of the PicMonkey applications, and share it on twitter with the Hashtag #TASFestiveFun, or email us at Theadoptionsocial@gmail.com with your image and email title TAS Festive Fun.

We can only accept one image per person although all family members are allowed to enter, so maybe let the children have a go.

The closing date is Friday 3rd January 2014

We will announce the winner on Monday 6th January 2014

 

Using The Canvas Tool

First Select Design from the menu on the front page.

A selection of canvas sizes will appear on your screen, click on your choice.

Santapic4

Then you need to select the background colour of your canvas, this is done from the Canvas colour box which appears on the left side of the screen. 

santapic6

Now you are ready to add your overlays, which can be found under the snowflake icon, at the bottom left side of the screen.

Santapic7

There are two theme options Winterland or Santa Land, both are lots of fun.

So some have some fun, experiment and let your creative side shine. 

My children have loved using this tool, so here is one they made earlier. 

Christmas1

Or you could edit a photograph as I did.

Santa Sarah

And don’t forget to send us your images and you could be the winner of a three month Royale Pic Monkey Membership.

#MemoryBox 12/08/13

Memory Box is for all those special moments, no matter how big or small,that make it all worthwhile…

Learning to tie shoe laces from The Puffin Diaires.

 Learning to tie shoe laces on The puffin Diaries

We are still very much enjoying seeing all the good bits, happy moments and treasured memories that you post here on Memory box. Hopefully the holidays are providing more great moments for you to share and if so please link up below. Remember you can tweet your posts with the Hashtag #Memorybox and we will do our best to share as many as possible, on twitter, Pinterest and on facebook. 


Why images on your blog are important

So, you’ve written a cracking blog post. It says everything you want it to, the highs, the lows, emotions shared and you know it’s one of your better posts.

Excellent. So now you can go and post it. Then share it for all to see.
But stop.
Is there a way you can make your already brilliant blog post even better?

Well, the simple answer is yes.

I’d like you to consider images. There are plenty of blogs out there who just use words, or just images, but there are a number of reasons why images are becoming important on wordy blogs. We all want our blogged shared so as to attract new and keep existing readers, and if you think about the ways we do that – via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even Pinterest, more and more often we see images attached to the posts that have been shared.

A striking image can be the difference between a reader clicking your blog or the one above it.

You might know that The Adoption Social is on Pinterest. We have a pinboard for each themed week of the Weekly Adoption Shout, and we pin the blogs of those who take part. To do this, there must be an image on those blogs that can be pinned. You’ll be able to tell from our pinboards that some of our bloggers don’t use many images, because the only image we’ve able to pin is our Weekly Adoption Shout Out badge on several sites. This is great advertising for The Adoption Social, but it doesn’t make those blogs stand out.Images 1

Another reason to consider images is to break up your site a little bit. Many of us use the same themes on our blogs, and even with some personalisation, they do still look pretty samey. Photos will make your blog stand apart from others with the same theme.

And do you know what? They just add a bit more interest and bring your writing to life.

If you use your images on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ too, hopefully you’ll be able to develop something of a style, and people will be able to look at any of those tools and know whether any given post is yours or not.

HandsAmongst the adoption blogging community, particularly amongst adoptive parent bloggers, there is concern over safety. That’s natural, some of our children are at risk of being found, some, well, you just want to protect their identities. This is why it’s important to think creatively about your images. They don’t have to be of your children’s faces…I’d discourage anyone from doing that unless you know exactly who is looking at those photos. But start thinking about taking pictures that show what your child is doing without showing them. Focus and zoom in on busy hands, backs of heads as they look out at something or scuffed trainers next to your own feet. There are many ways you can do this. Photograph what they’re doing or playing with, not them doing it or playing with it.

If you’re writing about school, what about taking a photo of their book bag and school shoes? If it’s a post about their favourite pastime – what about a photo of their drawings, favourite books, or their cycle helmet hanging off their bike?Big Ben

If you’re writing about a holiday, or a day out – how about a some nice landscapes, a funky sign, your clotted cream tea or even a landmark – holiday landmarks show where you’ve been, not where you live so aren’t as risky as local places.

Sometimes, the only appropriate photo you can find will feature your children or a local landmark. Don’t automatically dismiss it as unsuitable, because there are ways of disguising and obscuring their faces and other objects. See our post about pixelating and distorting images here.

I appreciate that we’re not all designers. We have something to say and we want to get it out there, but there’s no reason that we can’t develop our blogs to become more pleasing to the eye, as well as interesting to read.

Don’t worry if your photography skills aren’t top notch, or you don’t have a professional camera. A camera-phone works just as well for small images on your blog, and there is free software out there to improve your photos. See our post about Instagram here, and consider checking out the free online editing tool Pic Monkey at www.picmonkey.com.

Just have some fun playing with images and see what works on your own blog – enjoy!

A quick word on copyright:
We’ll touch on copyright at a later date, but if this is something you are worried about you can very easily add your blog name over your image as a watermark in Pic Monkey – similar to the top image in this post, but in more subtle colours and perhaps smaller. My suggestion would be to put the watermark over the middle of the image so it can’t be cropped off and used without your consent. And be sure that if you use someone else’s images on YOUR blog, get their express written permission first, unless you are buying that image and permission from a stock photography website and have proof you can use the image.