Agnes Caruso Photography

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Creating social media posts – Pinterest

When it comes to social media, branding, creating special posts there are many tools out there that you can use. I was actually interested in how the tools compare with respect to ease of use or capabilities. Let’s have a look at Pinterest posts. In order to make it comparable, I picked the same photos and the same message. I decided to compare two free to use tools – Canva and Adobe Spark as well as Corel PaintShop Pro 2018. Both of the free tools also offer upgrade options that we will get to a little later.

The aim is to create a post about preparation of a perfect cup of cappuccino.

Canva – first of the three images from the left

  1. Select a post type, Pinterest in this case
  2. You can select one of the available layouts and substitute pictures and text with your own. However, you can also create an entire post from scratch
  3. I filled the canvas with beans image, subsequently added the two other images by dragging them from my uploads onto a canvas and resized them easily
  4. Now I was ready to add text to the post. Text can be added as heading, subheading or body text. You can also use one of the available preset brand fonts
  5. Once completed you can download your creation. Direct sharing is only available for Twitter and Facebook

Adobe Spark – middle of the three images

  1. Identify a template you would like to use or create a post from scratch
  2. You can select one of available layouts, which is what I did
  3. Upload images into the selected template
  4. Resizing of the images is limited and I have found no way to add an image on top of a background image
  5. Adding text is very easy, as is altering of font face, size and color. Once you are done with text, it can be re-positioned on a page
  6. One strange thing about editing text is that instead of a box on the image, you get a big screen with a line on which you type the text you wish to have. This text gets resized easily, it is just a bit awkward when you are creating your post
  7. Once you are done your post is ready to share. Image can be downloaded, a link can be shared on Twitter, Facebook or by email

Corel PaintShop Pro – the third of the images

  1. Select File>New and select a Pinterest template under Social, select a background color
  2. Select and open the images you want to use in your post
  3. Copy each of the images as new layer to the background layer
  4. I selected on the images as a background image
  5. Resize the images to your liking, if needed you can adjust the appearance of images or crop them as you wish
  6. Images can be rotated, framed and positioned anywhere you want on the page
  7. Subsequently I added text and then saved the file as .PSP file for any future changes  and as .JPG for upload to Pinterest

   

What is the verdict now that the posts are created?

  1. Ease of use – Canva and Corel PainShop Pro – 5/5, AdobeSpark – 4/5
  2. Ability to resize/re-position images – Canva and Corel PainShop Pro – unlimited, AdobeSpark – limited
  3. Text choices – Corel PainShop Pro – unlimited, Canva and AdobeSpark – limited
  4. Templates – Canva and AdobeSpark offer a number of templates, only one free canvas in Corel PainShop Pro
  5. Availability of stock images – only available in Canvas, some are free and the rest is priced at $1.00
  6. Importing images – all tools allow import of images from a computer, AdobeSpark also allows import of images from Lightroom, Creative Cloud, Google or Dropbox
  7. Sharing posts – all of the creations have to be downloaded before they can be shared on Pinterest.

What functionality do you get for free?

Canva allows you to share your creations with up to 10 people, you can organize your designs into 2 folders, upload up to 1Gb of images and access over 8000 templates.

AdobeSpark allows you to create graphics, sync creations across the devices, it also allows you to resize the image for other social media posts or standard sizes

In order to add your personal branding: logos, text and colors in AdobeSpark you need to upgrade to Premium for $9.99 a month. AdobeSpark is also available as part of Creative Cloud.

Canva on the other hand will require you to upgrade before you can resize your posts, save your brand colors, logos and fonts. You also get unlimited folders, access to 300 000 free stock images/illustrations and templates. Pricing is $12.99 per month per user and you can have a team of up to 30 people.

Corel PaintShop Pro 2018 is not free, although you can get a 30 day free trial for testing. Pricing is $54.99 for a downloaded version. It offers you full ability to edit your images, be creative with them and easily resize the posts you created. You can add your own logos, select your own colors and fonts.

What should you use?

The tool you decide on depends on your needs. If you want to do things yourself the best is to try the free tools first to create some test posts. However, you may want to consult a graphic designer or a photographer who does graphic design as well, if you have a particular job in mind.

 

 

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Coffee – little coffee shops discovered in my travels

It seems that coffee is present everywhere. There are coffee shops, espresso bars in so many places that it is hard not to find one. Is coffee good or bad for us will not be discussed here, this is not the place or space for it, I leave that topic to others.

I just want to share some of the really great little spots I visited where coffee is really good. As any Australian I like my coffee strong and it has to have a taste that is not burned. So where are those little gems.

Let’s start in Brisbane – Merlo coffee is served in many spots, with a few of their own coffee shops. It is even on the Goodwill Bridge so you can get that ever important shot of coffee while strolling to work or riding your bike.

16187330482_aea41230a5_z   H04A8899  Da Capo, NYC

One of my favourite spots is Da Capo in New York. A small Italian coffee shop on Madison Avenue has that small perfect espresso, just what you need to pick you up in the morning or energize you during the day. You can match that with some of their pastries or sandwiches. The place is small but then so are many coffee shops in Italy.

On the opposite side of Manhattan there is another small coffee shop with good strong coffee – Ramini Coffee. They used to make fresh juices too but those days are unfortunately over. You can still get fresh juices and yogurts but they are ready made. Coffee, however, and pastries are great. One of the really nice things are mini-pastries.

La Colombe, PhillyWP_20151031_005 (2)In addition to individual coffee shops there are also local coffee shop chains much smaller than Starbucks and with much better coffee and much more personal service. One of such chains is La Colombe, it has unique charm and serves coffee in colorful cups in some of the stores. The first of their coffee shops I visited was in Philadelphia, right in the city center. Nice and spacious with quick service. The DC location is not as handy but that does not affect the coffee you get.

There are also some interesting options in Baltimore, with one of them being this time a French-style coffee shop – Café Poupon. They serve coffees in many different styles, pastries and sandwiches. Some of the pastries look so amazing you do not really know if you want to eat them or stare at them. Nice spot for breakfast or lunch, alternatively just for that coffee infusion.

 

WP_20160527_09_21_00_Rich (2) Kookaburra

While traveling further south into North Carolina, you can stop in Market Street Coffee and Ice Cream store in Chapel Hill to enjoy perfectly sized and tasting cappuccino.

Finally, the home of great coffee is in Florida, you can enjoy good coffees in many spots, but watch out for that sugar finding its way into your cup. Cuban coffee is frequently extremely sweet, so be very sure that you know what you are ordering. Strength is similar to Italian coffees though. Pastries are different and you will not find croissants or danishes as easily. However, there are Australians everywhere and Florida is not different, so there is a small Kookaburra coffee shop in St. Augustine, serving strong Australian coffee and Aussie scones to go with it.

Another great choice in Florida was an Argentinian Buenos Aires Cafe in Miami beach, good coffee and really amazing pastries.

InstagramCapture_67e4858d-e562-4a35-bf45-e532cc4966c4  New Orleans   

Then a place you cannot forget in the south, is Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans with its cafe au lait and beignets.

I have not been to many places on the west coast but one that picked my interest was La Parfait Paris in San Diego’s Gaslight district. A French patisserie with great breads, pastries and good strong coffee is nicely tucked away from the main streets. The location does not remind you of the Paris coffee shops but the taste is definitely there. They offer not only breakfasts but also make great lunchtime sandwiches.

The big challenge is to find a good coffee chop when you travel overseas. While going home to Australia presented little challenge as I already have my favorite spots not just in Brisbane but also in Sydney. A bigger challenge was finding this right spot in Canada. When traveling you frequently end up at one of the big chain stores like Starbucks or Tim Hortons, but you want something better and something unique. In Toronto, the unique is Balzac’s coffee. My favorite location is on Market Street. The slightly European décor makes it feel really cozy. The service is amazing, and early mornings are not very busy, so you can really enjoy your time. There is a little of everything for everyone, organic milk, home-made granola, pastries, coffees and teas. Just sit down and relax. The best part it is right opposite of the market so you can also get fresh and tasty fruit to get a healthy bite.

balzacs coffee  Balzacs lemon tart  Balzacs cappuccino

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Design collections – coffee and pastry collection

I have been working on compiling images which can be used for interior decorations of different rooms in a house. My motivation was ability to help my friends with finding something interesting for the walls of their homes. The collections I created at the moment will be changing over time, they are not set. They are also only a small sample of images that are available and can be customized for your needs.

You can use individual images if you wish to create your own wall decor or many different mosaics can be created from images of your choice, they can be framed in many different ways as well or we can even create a billboard. There is also a possibility of custom photography for a collection you wish to have for your house or business.

Below are the examples of coffee and pastries collection. I picked the most mouth watering images and various coffee drinks. Frames are only examples, but many different options are available.

coffee mat  coffee matte

   matte pastries        mate desert

   coffee pastry mosaic framed   coffee pastry mosaic matte

billboard

A new coffee shop, coming soon.