5 Settings to Use on VSCO to Improve Your Pictures!

Hello shutterbugs! This post can be useful not only for product pictures but also for shots of humans and landscapes and really many types of photography! I’m a huge fan of the VSCO app for editing all kinds of images on my phone, and I’m going to share the top settings I play around with to get my pictures to look almost professional.

I remember when I first started taking pictures of my products for my Etsy shop, I thought I was killing the game, and now looking back I realize how lost I was. What helped? Things took a turn for the better once I took Hilary Rushford’s “Instagram With Intention” free online workshop, where she introduced us to VSCO (I’m a big advocate for taking any and all free seminars you see offered, there’s always something to learn and you have nothing to lose, especially when they’re free. If it just so happens that you like what you hear, you can subscribe or get a membership to keep getting useful content). Without any further ado, let me share the very basic but completely life-changing tips I learned from Hilary and immediately implemented to my picture-editing game. Let’s keep this interesting with a step by step example: pizza picture please!

  • Natural light: this is an obvious one for many (and not a VSCO setting, but I got you guys with a bonus later) but the perfect foundation for good pictures is to take them in natural light – aka, not being hit by direct/yellow light, but placed where it would receive a diffused, indirect “bath” of light. Check out this original shot of a yummy pizza in what looks like natural light. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s definitely not Instagram ready. Yet!


  • Exposure: exposure is the vert first setting option, and it stands for the amount of light you want to add or remove from your picture, or how much light you’d want it “exposed” to. I usually move the dial to the right on average to +2-3.5 as shown in the picture, so that it looks like it was professionally lit, and that sometimes helps diminish imperfections as well. Play around with the button and always start off small, because there is such a thing as “overexposed” pictures. This is going to make the pizza look a little pale because there was already light, but the combination of edits is what does the magic.


  • Contrast: the contrast feature strengthens the properties of each color, making the light tones lighter, and the dark tones darker. This one is also good to keep at +2-3.5.


  • Saturation: saturation is here to make your colors look extra alive! Now, this one I’m super extra careful with, because it usually brings in a strong yellow/orange aura to the picture. So you can play around it and keep it around a +1.5-2.5. The pizza is ready to pop off the screen, but it almost looks like it was under a lamp light to stay warm. Not good yet!


  • Temperature: to the left, to the left! The solution to most of your yellow/orange problems is to make the picture colors “cooler” in tone, so literally lowering the temperature will bring on the blue hues. Don’t go too far, just enough to see yellows turning white is perfect. A -1 or -2 usually does the trick.


Now those are the ones I use pretty much for almost every picture edit, but not all pictures are created equal and there’s no one size fits all edit. These are not filters, these are enhancers that work under your guidance to get the tones jussssst right, on an individual basis. But this picture is not perfect yet. The light colors are now a little too light, and it has lost some of the detail. Since I’m more used to playing with the app now, I know exactly what to do next. In this case, I’m going over to the “Highlights” feature. I moved this one up to +10, but I really have no parameters for it since I seldom use it. See how now there are more spots in the cheese? All the colors garnered strength again.



And now, our pizza is ready to get all the glory of Instagram and make your followers salivate. Let’s see the before and after, side by side. Shall we?

Now, the first picture almost makes it look like the pizza was in the oven for a little too long, but the second one literally has me ready to #TBT in real life and go back to that magical moment before having it.

Anywho, I’m no foodie blogger or expert picture taker, but I definitely saw a huge improvement in my pictures over time, and my feed got much, much prettier. The other secret for me has been the white background. That’s a product photography staple, and as much as I tried to fight it at first, it’s simply perfect. I hope these tips help elevate your picture game and if you have any suggestions on other features to use, please drop them in the comments below!


Photography Corner: Max Turns 1

Max Turns 1

Time sure does fly! A little bit over a year ago, my friend Silvia and I were planning her beautiful and memorable “Ahoy it’s a boy!” nautical-themed Baby Shower for little baby Max, and here we are, celebrating his first full turn around the sun!

She chose an adorable circus theme for the occasion, and executed every detail impeccably! The weather wasn’t playing along too nicely at the beginning of the day with some serious wind gusts that kept knocking things down, but it ended up being a good thing because the South Florida heat can be very unforgiving, and we were all refreshed with the breeze.

Max had an absolute blast, playing with all the props, trying all the delicious foods (and boy did he love the sugar rush!), and more than anything else, dancing the day away! Turns out, Max has quite the moves and dances along to any genre – and he happily entertained his guests with some smooth moves all day long.

Silvia came to me a few weeks back about capturing the day for them, since she read quite a few mommy blogs that mentioned their regrets for not having enough pictures to look back on it, and she didn’t want to fall in that category. She made my job easy, with absolutely beautiful details at every turn, and I’d like to highlight a few in particular:

1. The First Birthday Stats Sign – our talented friend Karissa at Kustom Kreations by K put together this STUNNING first birthday stats sign that listed all of Max’s physical and personal characteristics. The attention to detail was unbelievable, and the board was the perfect complement to every single space of the party. Can’t say enough good things about it! The sign was also used for Max’s first birthday shoot, and the pictures were part of the decor too. Amazing job Karissa!


2. The cake – you could say Silvia and I are huge fans of our friend Hector at Cakes, Desserts & Beyond (he made my Modern Ariel birthday cake that I’m still dying over, and also this Star Wars-themed cake for Silvia’s husband’s 30th birthday) and who can blame us?! His cake creations are not only beautiful on the outside, but truly delicious and worth every bite on the inside. Max’s beautifully detailed circus-themed cake had a nutella and strawberry filling and I’m going to stop the description right here because I am getting a sugar rush just thinking about it. It was soooo good!


3. Centerpieces/Decor – Silvia put together the most adorable centerpieces using photos from Max’s first year photoshoot, and some allusive circus items for each table. There were also lots of details throughout the party like Max lollipops, popcorn, cotton candy, souvenir cups, clown noses, admission tickets, bubbles, circus signs, a mini tent – the list goes on and on. Everything was so fun and had the circus feel all around.

The party was a total hit, and Max had an absolute blast. Here’s the full gallery –

Happy birthday Max!!!!!

Photography Corner – Taty & Jorge’s Wedding

Within the realm of event planning and all related activities, one of my favorite things to do is photograph the occasion. I’ve always loved photography and even though I have no schooling in it, it’s a beloved hobby of mine. I closed off my 2014 event photography portfolio with an unexpected opportunity to shoot a wedding in a beautiful location in the coast of Santa Marta, Colombia called Los Alcatraces. The bride and groom – Jorge and Taty – seemed just so happy to take this step in their relationship, and I am so honored to have been asked to capture this huge moment for them. Here are some of my favorite shots of the day:

Little Mermaid Takes Vegas! 25th Birthday Pool Extravaganza

I cannot begin to tell you all how excited I am to FINALLY be able to share this here. I worked on this party non-stop for two months – which was honestly way too long for me, because I kept having more and more ideas and it almost got too crazy – and I’m just so happy with the way everything turned out! Here are some insights to how this all came together:

1. This party was originally supposed to happen in the summer, as a Vegas-style pool bash with my friends. It never happened, and I needed an idea to celebrate my 25th, so it just fit.

2. One night in the shower (where the best ideas just come right?) I was thinking about my love for all things Little Mermaid and then – BOOM – epiphany! Pool party + Little Mermaid = perfection. Obviously, as a 25th birthday, the concept became more of a “Little Mermaid Grew Up and went to Vegas” theme, and all the innocence went out the window.

3. Everything started coming to me right then and there. I went on Pinterest and created a secret board called “Mermaid Party” (now public) with lots of ideas to keep in mind, and my event planner self went into overdrive, creating Word docs, Excel Spreadsheets… the works. I started going to thrift shops and bought a few things for super cheap, which gave me room to spend more on the important things.

Now, here are the top 10 party items:

Cake WCB1. The Cake: instead of starting off small, I have to just go for it – this cake was everything I wanted and more! I would’ve  been 100% happy with just the cake, and no party at all! I found this cake on Pinterest, and did the research and saw that the original artwork was from Tim Shumate, and the cake artist was located in… WALES… halfway across the world! Sigh… As a huge perfectionist, I just wasn’t sure anyone would be able to replicate that masterpiece by Fabricake South Wales, but then I remembered visiting Cakes, Desserts & Beyond earlier in the year for my friend’s baby shower, and I thought if someone could do it, it would be them – and boy did they deliver! I was so obsessed with the final result, I almost cried when time came to cut the cake, and I actually saved the Ariel art, and I’m working on framing it now… More on that later. Anyways, here it is:

2. The Slide: I had thought of getting a slide, but then dismissed the thought for fear it would be too expensive. Then my friends brought it up, and they helped me find this one from Miramar Party Rental, which just fit the theme perfectly!

Slide WCB

3. The Favors: my friends at ETK Enterprises took care of ordering these punny “She Wants the D” koozies for me. I got the idea after browsing online (I wanted to find something that both genders would enjoy and want to take home), and everyone asked if I had extra so they could share with their friends! Total hit 🙂

Koozies WCB

4. The Props: This was probably one of the first things I started doing. I practically made everyone’s hair/heads (even Grimsby!), and a few inappropriate sayings to go along. “Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter” – I mean, how could I not?! Making photobooth props is probably one of the things I enjoy doing the most, and I discovered some pretty good drawing skills I didn’t know I had.

All Props WCB

5. The Bathing Suit: of course with all of the theme decor in place, I had to look the part! I found these high waisted mermaid bathing suit bottoms (even better, ready to ship) from Alicia Zenobia’s Etsy shop, and the top is originally from Tommy Bahama, but I purchased it for half price at 6pm.com. I also wore this Ariel top from Hot Topic to cover up.

Bathing Suit WCB

6. The Dessert Table/Backdrop: I saw this backdrop on Pinterest/Etsy, and in an effort to save money wherever I could, I decided to make it myself (no cricut!). The dessert table also had these Cake Pops (I had never made them before, and I must say, they came out pretty good for my first time) some Brigadeiros (a Brazilian truffle my coworker taught me how to make), white and purple sixlets chocolates (like M&Ms), and some shiny teal gumballs to complete the color scheme.

Cake Table WCB

7. The Face-In-Hole: this was one of those things included in the “i had way too much time to plan this party and kept coming up with more things to do” category. I had a huge cardboard cover from my Ikea desk, and I started thinking it was a good potential face-in-hole canvas. I made it a little raunchy to keep up with the adulthood level of the party, and my friends had a lot of fun with it!

Face In Hole WCB

8. The Mermaid Lagoon Sign: once again, let’s thank Pinterest for existing and running my life. I pinned this sign to my Mermaid Party board, and I just knew I HAD to make it myself. I bought a long plank of wood from Home Depot, sawed it into 3 chunks (there was actually a 4th smaller piece I ended up using to make a bathroom sign so my guests knew which door it was) drilled it, painted it, and voila!

Mermaid Lagoon Sign WCB

9. The Drinks: I have to thank my brother for coming through as a mixologist last-minute. All I knew is that I wanted a blue drink and a purple one to stick with the theme/color scheme, and he just mixed the right amounts of everything. We used Blue Curacao Liqueur and Blue Fruit Punch to give the color to the blue drink, and cranberry and grape juices for the purple one. I labeled them “Mermaid Water” and “Ursula’s Purple Haze.”

Drinks WCB

10. The Decor: obviously, what tied it all together! Lots of small things that helped this very adult party stay true to the magic of the Little Mermaid (Fun Fact: the Little Mermaid came out in 1989, same year I was born! Coincidence? I think not.)

**Tutorial on how to make the Chinese Lantern Medusa/Jellyfish here, or you can buy them directly from my Etsy shop.

Anddddd that’s it. Again, I am beyond ecstatic to finally get to share this, I hope you get some good ideas for your own events, and feel free to comment below and leave your feedback! I will be posting some of these items on my Etsy shop for anyone who may be interested in buying them for their own parties.

Event Planning – Jill & Jorge’s Beach Proposal

2014 is definitely the year that brought me back to doing events – and I’ve loved every single one. I’ve planned/crafted for/set up a baby shower, a bachelorette, a few birthdays, a baptism, and a couple of other things here and there, but one of my favorites definitely has to be this proposal. I’ve known Jill and Jorge for about five years now, and they’re one of the most adorable couples ever. They have been together for eight years, and a lot of that time was spent apart, living in different states or cities. Once they were finally in the same zip code, our group of friends jumped for joy.

At some point in late February, Jorge reached out to me with an idea for a beach proposal, and he had a date: April 12th (because Jill’s grandma would be in town). He drew up a sketch of what he envisioned, and let me run wild with it. He originally wanted to propose at Sunset Pointe or Ft. Lauderdale beach, but there was an event that weekend, and we had to look into other options. I had been to the Anglin’s Fishing Pier at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea once before, and I thought this would be the perfect place for the event, so we had a “site visit” and he was on board.

Since this proposal involved our whole group of friends, I held a crafting session for the girls so we could work on the signs and other props we would need. Everything was exactly what Jill wanted. Her cousin was also in on the planning, and she helped us refine the details to make it perfect for Jill. I also had the very nerve wracking duty of capturing every moment, and I definitely felt the pressure to capture everything and not miss a single beat. Without further ado, here are a few shots from one of the most emotional proposals ever!

And finally, our whole group got together for a pic with the newly engaged couple!

Jill's Proposal 11

Congrats Jill and Jorge, and thank you for letting me be a part of this beautiful moment ❤

Event Planning – “Ahoy Baby Max” Nautical Baby Shower

Who doesn’t love a nautical theme? I mean, really, I’m surrounded by anchor-loving people – and it’s completely understandable. The nautical theme is so versatile, gender-neutral, and truly timeless… What’s not to love?

When my friend told me she wanted to have a nautical-themed baby shower for her baby boy Max, I got to pinning stuff on Pinterest right away. There are so many ideas for “Ahoy it’s a boy,” that you really can’t go wrong with this theme. My friend wanted to do a navy + yellow color scheme instead of the typical navy + red combination, which made it a bit more original. We made pretty much everything from the diaper cakes to the popcorn cups, and had a blast with it all. Here are the highlights –


Cookies by Something Sweet Miami

Photobooth Props

To purchase a set of these Nautical Photo Booth Props, head over to the listing on my Etsy page, WCB Craft Studio.