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Design essentials

Ever wondered how to create awesome graphics all by yourself? What photography equipment is best or editing software?

Picture Editing

Lightroom is by far the best and most recommended program for editing. Unlike Photoshop or  Illustrator, it’s super easy to learn (practically one tutorial will teach you the basics and then you just play with it).

I used the new Lightroom at the beginning which is prettier and has great user experience butttt it doesn’t include many functions that I needed so I switched to Lightroom Classic and immediately my edits were looking much better.

The software and use of Adobe Cloud are not free but totally worth it. I pay 20$ a month for photography and video editing software instead of 30$ because of my student discount.

Apart from using Lightroom to create a coherent style, you can use it to remove people or objects from your shot.

Watch how in this tutorial:

Play Video

Lightroom is super easy but if you’re not feeling it you can always purchase editing presets and apply them to your pics.

What are presets? A saves set of editing properties that you can apply to as many pictures as want.

If there’s a specific Instagram feed that you like it’s worth checking if the person is selling presets. I loved the @aggie’s editing when I first started so I purchased one of her presets pack on sale.

The presets helped me make my feed coherent but the most important thing to understand is that even after applying the preset you will still have to do some editing. In my case, Aggie is blond and consistently warms up her pictures so many times I had to take down the orange saturation or warmth of the pics.  I recommend watching this tutorial in order to understand what I’m talking about. 


I would definitely say VSCO is the second-best choice you can have for editing pics and creating a coherent feed.

This app offers amazing presets you can apply to all of your pictures. They are organized by letters so when I just started my account I used many of the L presets and it totally upgraded my feed.

It’s the best thing to start with if you don’t want to spend 20-30$ a month on Adobe software. 


Don’t know photoshop? No worries, neither do I. When I need a new logo, business card, Pinterest cover for my posts, facebook cover pic and everything else I go to Canva or Crello.

Canva has amazing background pics, frames, and texts but most importantly they have pre-made designs so that you won’t have to think of colors, fonts or anything else.   

I’ve been a huge fan of Canva that has helped me create my first business card but I’ve always had my issues with the app/site since the options were limited and for some basic things you had to pay- like resizing a pic.

That’s when I discovered Cerllo and was so happy! at first glance, you think it’s the same as Canva but what makes it so unique is the fact that you can resize your design, you have animated designing and many more options.

Here’s a video about Crello

Adobe Illustrator is the best tool in case you would like more customization to your graphics.

Trust me I do not like graphic software, video editing I’m fine with but photoshop and all of this I hate. Buttt I knew Illustrator is a powerful software and when I wasn’t pleased with other beginners programs I switched to creating graphics here. I knew nothing about this software and learned everything online

I didn’t go to general tutorials to learn how to use the program (did that a couple of years back and gave up) but just look for what I needed- create a shadow behind my text, create transparent background etc. A 2-minute youtube tutorial can tell you exactly what you need to do.

My current logo, for example, was designed on Illustrator.

Another option for any graphic designs is I designed a couple of logos there using the same designer and it cost less than 10$ each.

Need a logo for your blog? hand-drawn map for one of your post? customized coding for your site? Whatever you need you can find in fiverr starting with 5$.

I used Fiverr a couple of times already to design my logo. My first one was for 5$ and the second for 10$. I used the same designer for both. What I liked about it is that you get indefinite revisions for your design so basically the designer will keep on editing until you’re pleased.

My logos designed by  Fiverr:

Stock Photos

If you want to have professional pictures ( flat lay pics of a laptop for example) but don’t have time to make yourself an expert in taking pics like this you can always you pictures stock website.

Here are some of the stock photos I use on my site:

Many sites offer royalty-free pictures (crediting the photographer is not a must but recommended) that you can use to upgrade your website.

in this manner, if I have a post about Brazil but don’t have a nice image of the Sugar Loaf I just search for “Brazil” in one of those sites and take a pic from there. I don’t use it often but it’s a great option!

Here are some examples of stock images sites:

  • Pixabay- this site has a bunch of free stock footage you can use
  • Shutter Stock– this site is not free but has a great variety of pics so if you didn’t find it elsewhere try it here
  • Pixi Stock– what I love about Alicia’s pics is that you can adjust their colors so it can fit your brand! Her designs are great for general blog pics with a feminine touch. You have to pay for most pics but you get monthly freebies (which I love).
  • Adobe Stock
  • Creative Market

This is the place where you can find everything creative- from stock photos, templates, fonts and even web templates. Whatever you need for your blog is there. The different products vary in price and most of them are super affordable.

Apps for Instagram


I use this app to edit my stories and take them to the next level. They have some free templates but I even purchased a few packages since, get this, their only 1.99$ more or less- so totally worth it!

They also have special templates for example during New Years or for Pride Parade things like this.


Another great app that will help you create amazing layouts for your insta stories.

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