My top three tips for a awesome family session.Read More
My tips for shooting your first roll of film.Read More
My go to wardrobe choices for your newborn photography session.Read More
My tips for selecting a film stock.Read More
My 3 top tips for a relaxed newborn sessionRead More
Tips to help you choose your first film camera.Read More
The Film Love Workshop and all the details.Read More
Last week I mentioned my love for film and how I would be sharing some of the stocks I've been shooting just to help anyone else out who might be interested in film. Today is all about Ektar 100!
Ahh....Ektar 100 is just amazing. It has minimal grain and is just so vibrant! I started off with a love-hate relationship with Ektar but I was determined to figure this stock out because the colors are out of this world. I still don't have it down to a science, but after practicing and changing some things up I feel way more confident shooting this stock. I shot a few rolls of this when we were in St. John, USVI and the pictures were EXACTLY as the island was - bold, vibrant, clear, colorful! My biggest struggle with Ektar is the skin tones. Ektar has a red undertone and if you under or overexpose, skin tends to get super red/orange and scary looking, lol. My daughter has more red/orange to her skin tone in general, so I really noticed this if I overexposed/underexposed with her (vs. my son who has a little more peachy-pinky skin tone).
The key with Ektar is to expose it properly. When I first started practicing with Ektar I'm pretty sure I was overexposing by a stop or two (by the way I was metering - bulb in, facing down at 45 degrees). In the Virgin Islands, I didn't take into consideration the light reflecting from the sandy beaches, so I probably added on at least another stop of overexposure there....whoops!
Now I meter (using my external light meter) bulb in, racing my camera, at 90 degrees....and typically, the skin tones are perfect! The amazing Wendy Laurel has an article on her blog about shooting with Ektar that is definitely worth checking out!
Here's some of my favorite Ektar 100 images!
If you've been following along with me on Instagram, you've probably heard me raving non-stop about film. This summer I was kind of burned out with my personal work. I was struggling BIG time with creativity, motivation, ideas, self-doubt, weirdness and on and on and on. I am a creative person by nature and I ALWAYS have to be doing something, whether it be photography, sketching, knitting, dreaming, etc... But my creativity has to bring me joy. And excitement. And giddiness. There is a spark in me that has to ignited for me to love and enjoy it. And if that spark isn't there, well, then I'm basically just wandering around mopey and sad.
Film was my summer challenge to myself. All of the cameras I had growing up were good old film cameras but I honestly knew NOTHING about film. And I was SO incredibly terrified of film. It was so different and way scarier than digital. I couldn't see what I was shooting. I couldn't change my angle if the first shot didn't work out. I couldn't make sure I was able to "recreate" what I had in my head. But I love learning new things, so I bought a Canon 1V from eBay, called up everyone I knew who shot film (thank you Ashley, Jamie and Jennifer) and basically just threw caution to the wind.
What happened was magical. It saved me. It brought back my creativity. It let me get out of the rut of staring at the back of my camera and overanalyzing the image I created. It made me shoot for ME. It made me slow down and actually enjoy the process of "waiting" for the right moment to click that shutter. And that's just the photography side of things.
Film has made me a happier creative. It's made me a happier person, in general. I spend more time with my kids. I enjoy shooting and capturing them WAY more than I did with my digital camera. Film brought magic to the art for me. The unknown is magical. The process is magical. The moments are magical. Our life is magical.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still terrified of film. I break out into a cold sweat every time my scans come through just waiting for disaster. And yep. Some images are absolutely awful. But most are magical. They may not be technically perfect. The composition may be all off. I might have chopped a limb off. But you know what, the magic is still there....
Now usually when you start out shooting film, it's recommended to pick ONE stock of film and shoot with that so you get a good understand of exposure, how the stock reacts to light, yada yada yada. But yeah, I hate rules, so I basically threw caution to the wind and have shot every stock I could order from Amazon and B&H photo. I thought it would be fun to share some of our summer FILM photos here on the blog and decided to break them down by stock to maybe help out anyone who might be interested in shooting film/learning more about film.
First up is Fuji Superia Xtra 400 (35mm)
-This is a consumer stock and you grab it at Wal-Mart and a few other local places (pharmacies, etc..).
-has only 24 exposures (which I kind of love because I'm always jones-ing to finish a roll)!
-It has an ISO of 400, so it's a pretty good choice when it comes to most any type of daytime lighting.
-Kicks BUTT in full sun (but seriously, all film rocks in full sun)
-Pretty saturated colors
-Gorgeous skin tones when overexposed (it likes overexposure)
And here's a look at some of our summer shot with Fuji Superia Xtra 400!!
Black and white imagery is timeless and beautiful. Removing the vibrant colors from an image makes the subject or object being photographed become the main focal point and often evokes strong emotion and feelings for the viewer. Everyone has a different take on how to achieve a black and white image, but here are some things to keep in mind when shooting and processing your images!
1. Shoot in RAW
I'm sure you've heard me say it before, but shooting in RAW will give you control over the detail of your images. Black and white photography is all about the highlights and shadows in a image and being able to tweak those as needed can help you when you convert your image to black and white. Some cameras allow you to shoot in black and white while also saving the RAW file (which would have all the data saved) so you could revert the image back to color if you weren't happy with your black and white conversion.
2. Pay attention to the lighting
Just like with color images, it's super important to pay attention to the light. Before you shoot your scene, take a look at the shadows and highlights and see if you can envision how the photo will look in black + white. Pay attention to where the light is falling and how it illuminates your subject.
3. Look for high contrast imagery
An image that has a high contrast between light and dark will be a more dramatic black and white image. Creating depth in your image by placing your subject away from the background can help add contrast to your scene. High contrast between color can also add a more dramatic feel to your image. A light grey and a dark grey likely won't show much different in black and white, but an image with strong dark colors and strong light colors (or white) will definitely pop on a monochromatic image.
4. Pay attention to shadows
While you will want to make sure you don't blow out the highlights in your image, you also want to pay attention to the shadows and the details in the shadows. A strong black and white image will have a good contrast between light and dark and it's important to make sure your shadows aren't too dark or too muddy. Great details in the shadows can make a black and white image pop!
5. Look for lines, shapes, textures + patterns
Patterns, lines, shapes and textures are more visible and apparent when they are black and white because your eye doesn't have to visually process the color in an image. To see lines, shapes and patterns, there needs to be a distinct separate from your subject/object and the background. Repeating patterns, silhouettes, framed subjects and more can make for very interesting black and white images!
When is the last time you shot JUST for YOU? When is the last time you started a personal photography project and pushed yourself? Personal photography projects are an amazing way to spark your own personal creativity and to get you excited about your favorite hobby. If you're looking for a little creative push, a photography project is the way to go! Here are my three reasons for staring a personal photography project!!
1. It can help inspire you when you feel like all inspiration is lost
Whether you are a hobbyist photographer or a paid photographer who takes clients, it's likely you've found yourself uninspired a time or two. I'm pretty sure that's the nature of any creative hobby, especially photography. It's easy to get in a rut or feel completely lost in your own work. It easy to look at other people's work and compare what you are doing with what they are doing and start second-guessing yourself. Comparison really is the thief of all joy and it can definitely suck the life out a passion. When I find myself stuck in a rut or just feeling completely BLAH about my work and what I'm shooting, I always make myself start a photography project. Sometimes they are BIG year-long projects (like my project 365) and other times they are shorter, more "challenges" to myself (like learning film photography). And big or small doesn't matter. Starting a personal photography project JUST FOR YOU is bound to spark some kind of creativity!
2. It can challenge you to learn something new
I have said all along that my favorite part of photography is the never-ending learning options. There are SO many areas to explore, learn and develop. It might seem scary at first to step out of your comfort zone, but just like with most things in life, as soon as you give it a go and get your feet wet, you start learning and the potential is endless.
This summer, I'm challenging myself to learn film photography. I've always had a passion for film and dark rooms and I am diving head first into the learning process. It's totally scary and I seriously only about 1 of every 20 words I read about film, but I'm determined to stick with it. Every day I learn something new and it's pretty awesome.
Think about what you might want to learn and give it a go! Maybe it's film! Or maybe it's underwater photography! Whatever it is, grab hold and don't let go!
3. It will make you fall in love with photography again
This sounds so silly, I know.... But I promise you, a photography project will make you fall in love with some aspect of photography again. It may not be "ground-breaking head-over-heels" but if you stick with a personal photography project and continue to challenge yourself, you WILL grow as a photographer and you WILL fall back in love with the process. There is not one project I've ever started that hasn't changed me in some ways. Sometimes it's something little......like it makes me appreciate our everyday so much more.... And sometimes it's something BIG.... like it makes me want to photograph ALL the people ALL the time. Either way it's a win-win. A personal project JUST FOR YOU is bound to spark your creativity and get you excited for this art again!
If you love shooting at golden hour, you probably love bokeh. Bokeh typically occurs when you combine light with the out-of-focus parts of an image (it can also occur without light, but today we'll chat about bokeh as a result of light + out-of-focus points).
To achieve that dreamy, beautiful bokeh there are a few tips to keep in mind when shooting!
1. Filter your light source.
By using trees, bushes or taller objects to filter the sun, you will be creating "holes" where the sun can peek through to create beautiful bokeh. I love the way the light looks filtered through trees and am always mindful about where I place my subjects when shooting.
2. Separate your subject from your light source.
Instead of sticking your subject right up against the tree line (or whatever background you are shooting against), try having them stand away from the background. The more distance that is between your subject and the background, the more depth and bokeh you will achieve.
3. Shoot with a wide open aperture.
Shooting wide open (f1.8, f2.0, f2.8) will create a shallower depth of field and will help separate your subject from the background and will help create beautiful bokeh. I tend to always shoot wide open anyway because I love the compression and creaminess of a wide open aperture.
4. Use a longer focal length lens.
A longer focal length will create a more distinct bokeh. My go-to lenses are my Canon 35 L II and my Canon 135L. Both create beautiful bokeh, but the 135 creates the most beautiful bokeh ever because it is a longer focal length and has a greater compression rate. The two images below show the different between the bokeh on the 35mm and 135mm. The image on the left was shot with my 35mm and the image on the right was shot with my 135. As you can see, the 135 does have more haze when shot in backlighting, but the bokeh can't be beat!
5. Look for unusual bokeh.
Keep your eyes open for light that could create beautiful bokeh. Street lights, strands of lights, christmas tree lights and other light sources can also create bokeh when you separate your subject from that light source. If you are shooting this light source alone (meaning without a subject in your frame), just switch your lens to manual focus and twist your aperture ring until you achieve a bokeh you like!
Do you love bokeh too?? It's so dreamy and beautiful and makes for such a pretty element in your images!
You have this fancy camera and maybe a lens or two, but still feel like you're struggling to get the images that make your heart burst with happiness. Sound familiar? I can totally relate. I remember feeling that EXACT SAME WAY when I first got my Canon Rebel many years ago. I knew what I wanted my images to look like, but seriously had no clue how to get there. I felt lost and confused and frustrated. All I really wanted was someone to come and teach me everything I needed to know. I took a photography class (which was an epic fail) and felt even more lost. Then I started at the basics and tried to learn everything I could about photography to improve my skills. If you're feeling stuck or lost, then these 10 tips are for you!! Make a list of which ones you might need to work on and then dive head first into that list! I promise you will continue to get better and better everyday!
1. Learn how to shoot in manual mode.
It might sound crazy and scary, but shooting in manual mode is going to take your photography to the next level. Manual mode gives YOU the control over your image instead of your camera and I promise you manual mode is where it's at. If you've never moved out of Auto, no worries at all! I recommend starting in aperture mode with the intention to learn how your camera works and then move over to manual mode once you have the hang of aperture mode and how it changes your camera settings.
2. Know how you camera works.
This goes right along with manual mode and knowing HOW your camera works is going to be key to improving your photography. Grab a cup of coffee, your camera + your camera's manual and spend the day getting to know your camera. Read about the different functions of your camera and how they work. The manual does an AWESOME job of explaining what the various functions are, how to change them and what they can do for your images!!
3. Know the exposure triangle.
Part of shooting in manual mode is knowing what aperture, shutter speed and ISO are and how to make them work for your images. Having full control of these settings is going to let you create your images the way you visualize them!
4. Study your favorite images + images from your favorite artists.
I mentioned this yesterday when we chatted about "finding your style" and it I think it totally applies here. Having artists and people who inspire you are so important. By studying their work and dissecting what you love most about their art, you will begin to hone in on what style you like. I definitely AM NOT suggesting you copy another person's work or try to recreate a shot EXACTLY as they created it. That's no fun. Instead, look at the elements of their work (like lighting, composition, framing, lines, etc...) and let those INSPIRE you.
5. Learn your editing programs.
I'm sure many of you have Lightroom and/or Photoshop but are too scared to even up the programs up! There really is nothing scary about these applications and figuring out WHAT they can do for you will be life changing. Since I shoot only in RAW, I am able to tweak my images in Lightroom and Photoshop to bring back details, etc... These editing tools are there to help you can definitely help give your work that "pop" you might be looking for. Take a little while to play around in the programs and see what the different tools do. I always recommend just pulling up a photo and playing around without the intention of a finished piece you will post on Instagram or Facebook. Use this time to learn, play, tweak.
Stick your camera in your purse or bag and take it everywhere you go. Pull it out in grocery stores and libraries and playgrounds and parks. Experiment with different lighting situations and angles. Again, use this time to play around and learn your camera; not necessarily to end up with an amazing photo. Click, click, click and then delete, delete, delete. The only way to learn and improve is to practice....
7. Practice, practice + then practice some more.
Yep! That brings up to practice. Shooting and practicing are SO important. NO ONE picks up a camera on day 1 and is a pro. I promise you. It takes time, energy and effort to learn your camera, your style and how you want to create your images! Practicing will not only help you figure out the different modes and functions of your camera, but it will inspire you keep practicing. If there's one aspect you love (like backlit images), then spend a week shooting in backlighting. Shoot, shoot, shoot and keep on shooting. The more you practice, the better your photography will get!
8. Take a photography class.
There are SO many classes out there that cover everything photography related. From beginner classes to advanced creative classes, you will be able to find anything you are looking for. Pick an area you are interested in and dive right in! I always recommend freeing your calendar and REALLY giving a class your 100% attention (or as much attention as you possibly can). Online classes are amazing and you really do get out what you put in. If you download a class and let it sit on your desktop without even opening it, you probably aren't going to be inspired or take away very much. BUT - if you put in the effort, shoot everyday (as typically recommended) and connect with teachers/students, I promise it will be an amazing experience.
9. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
Thinking outside the box and trying something new has helped me improve my photography in so many ways. It took me a while to figure out that my shooting style and creative style is different from many others. It took me a while to stop comparing my "beautiful" to someone else's beautiful. Every photographer is on a different journey and no two photographers started at the exact same time and studied the same material. Use your practice time to do something that scares you and it will only make you stronger!
10. Learn from your mistakes.
For every one image I post on my blog or Instagram, there are AT LEAST 1000000 bad images to go along with that. I obviously don't post those bad images anywhere, but I can guarantee you that almost everyone who shoots consistently creates work that they just don't love. I don't love every shot I take. More than 90% of the time, the shot doesn't come out how I envisioned it or either my subjects weren't willing to cooperative. That's ok. Everyone makes mistakes and has bad shots. Everyone overexposes and misses focus and runs out of SD card space. It happens. Learn from these mistakes and then MOVE on.
And there ya go! 10 tips to take your photography to the next level! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope I've inspired you to try something new!!
I get asked often how I "found my style". To be honest, this question kind of stumps me a lot. Half the time I feel like I'm all over the place and my images aren't cohesive. Anyone who asks, I am always quick to say that I don't feel like I have a style, per say, but they promise me that my style is unique and identifiable. I don't think there is a simple answer to this question of "how to find your style". But while I feel that my style is constantly evolving, there are some things you can do to try to "hone" in on what you like best and what direction you might want to go,
1. Take a look through your photos
Spend one evening scrolling back through your photos. Not those everyday iPhone photos or selfies (unless those are your fave and you love that style), but maybe a collection of photos from your past few years....your instagram feed, blog posts, printed photos, photo books, gallery submissions, etc.... Look back through those photos and create two folders on your desktop. Label one "Love" and the other "Like". As you look through your images, the photos that jump right out at you and just feel "right" - copy and paste them to the "Love" folder. Ones that you catch your eye, but don't give you those warm-fuzzies - copy and paste those to the "Like" folder. Ideally, you should keep doing this until you have a decent number of photos - maybe 50 or so - so you can scroll through these folders and analyze WHAT it is you love about each set. Once you have your set, take a look at your images and see if you can determine a common theme.
If I were to do that, my set would likely show images that were light + airy, were well composed and included a bit of negative space (for example). Light, negative space and composition all make my heart go pitter-patter, but it took me a while to figure that out. Maybe I always considered it mentally when I shot, but it wasn't until I sat down and looked back through my images to find my faves did I realize what I loved most. That being said, though....I have come to realize that NOT every image is going to be in backlighting or have a perfect composition. I strive for these elements when I'm shooting, but our everyday life doesn't always allow for that. There are so many "in between" moments that I love JUST as much and will definitely capture, even though they may not be in perfect lighting or have the perfect composition. Finding your style isn't about "perfection". It's finding what speaks to your creative heart and then running with it.
2. Stop comparing your "beautiful" to someone else's "beautiful".
This should be made into a poster and distributed to every person who creates an Instagram or Facebook account. My "beautiful" will be different from yours. My life is different from yours. How I look at our life through the lens will likely be different from how you look at your life. That's totally ok. The worst way to "ruin" your passion is to compare your work to other people's work. Photography is an ART. Like painting. Or writing. Or drawing. There may be technical aspects that are similar, but the end result will almost ALWAYS be different. Remember that and don't compare your beautiful to someone else's beautiful.
Instead of comparing, analyze your favorite artist's work. What is it about that person's work that you absolutely love? Is the light, use of color, composition, lines? See if you can pinpoint WHAT your favorite aspects are and then look back through your folders from above and see if you have those same elements identified. It's likely you do!!
Another HUGE thing to remember here is that people typically choose to post those "beautiful" aspects of their life. I don't post selfies. Ever. I might add them to my Instagram stories, but they never make it to my Instagram feed. I take them with my kids all the time, but those photos (while I save and print every single one because I think they are important and tell our story), don't speak to me on a creative level. My Instagram feed is curated of my very favorite photos. Photos I love. Photos that make me smile. Photos that typically have those elements that define my "style". You don't have to apologize for being selective with what you post!! It's your feed and you can make it whatever you want!
3. Explore and experiment.
As I mentioned above, I still struggle with whether or not I even have a recognizable style. I think the biggest reason I continue to struggle is because I am always trying to improve my skills and learn as much as I can about this art. I truly don't want to be "stuck" to a style. I have elements that I love, but I am always growing as an artist and hope to never stop. I don't want the pressure of feeling like every image HAS to be perfectly composed. Or every image I post HAS to be taken in backlight. In my photographic dreams that would be awesome, but it isn't realistic. I love trying out new lighting and compositions and techniques and I really love getting creative with my lenses and attempting manual focus, free lensing, prisms and more. By experimenting and thinking outside of my creative box, I continue to push myself creatively and that's what I love most about this hobby!
So that's my "finding your style" soap box. I think it's good to try to identify what you're passionate about and what makes your creative heart tick. Knowing what inspires you will continue to push yourself to be better and better at this art!
Vacations are amazing. I count down the days, hours, minutes until we can throw alllllll of our stuff in a bag and head out for some fun in the sun. EVERY single trip we take, I always have the BIGGEST plans for photo ideas, day trips, adventures and more. But...as soon as we get there and get unpacked, I typically lose all of my creative motivation and my camera ends up just sitting in it's bag. I'm here to tell you that's TOTALLY ok. I promise.
Vacations are a time for rest and relaxation. It's a time to unplug, unwind and recharge your batteries. Yes, it's still somewhat stressful if you're traveling as a family, but it's still that time to stop, play with your kids and just "be". I still want our trip to documented, and there's nothing like a sandy beach or tropical scenery to inspire you to take some photos, so I try to follow a few simple "rules" on vacation.
1. Pick a day or two to bring your camera out with you.
If you are like me and struggle with the "omg, this place is gorgeous, I need a 100 pictures" and "but I just don't want to lug this camera around every day" scenarios, then pick 1 or 2 days to pack your camera in your bag when you're heading out. I usually use the first few days of our vacation to sit and relax while scoping out ALL of the fun spots, locations and backdrops that might be awesome for some photos. Then, later in the week, I bring my camera with me and take all those shots. Obviously this scenario works best if you are staying at one location for the entire trip (like a resort or beach). If we are going out to explore or on an adventure, I usually always bring my camera along just in case.
2. Chill during the day, snap at sunset.
Heading out to the beach to watch the sunset is one of our family's very favorite things to do. We go almost every single night and the kids play around while my husband and I just sit and take it all in. By this time, my kids are likely done with playing in the ocean, so I "bribe" them to wear something cute and am able to sit back and take a few photos while they wander around. And most everyone else on vacation is eating dinner or planning to go out at this point, so the beaches and public areas are typically less crowded.
3. Lag behind the troops.
I'm pretty sure about 90% of my photos are taken while I'm lurking behind my kids/family. I always try to capture our day and moments as I see them...not necessarily posed and smiling....so staying a few steps behind everyone else can help capture those times.
4. Look for color.
There's something about summer that screams color and, as I mentioned, I am always on the lookout for colorful walls, foliage and other backdrops that make for an interested composition. Again, I usually take notice of these spots the first few days of our trip and then try to venture back later in the week with my camera. I've found that early morning and just before sunset are awesome times to snag a "crowd-free" shots in these spots.
5. Relax + enjoy the process.
It is SO easy to get caught up with wanting to capture your vacation days and all those beautiful moments. It's also easy to get frustrated if your kids won't cooperative, or if the crowds are crazy (and you chicken out). Just relax and enjoy yourself. Enjoy the vacation. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy doing something other than laundry or dishes. Maybe put the camera away for the evening and play in the sand with your kids. Those memories are still being made, even if you don't have them captured on film.
When I look at a photograph, the first thing that typically draws me in is the details. I feel like they tell the biggest story and I'm always attempting to capture these storytelling details in both my personal and professional work. To me, things like feet, hands, toys, hair, lips, etc... tell SUCH a big story. They tell the "here + now" and these things are so easily replaced by other (or bigger things) over time.
When you're capturing details, there's a few things to keep in mind!
1. Get close!
A landscape shot is just not going to give the viewer the same "feel" as a close up shot will. If you are shooting a specific detail, then hone in on it with your camera and click away. Be sure to keep your aperture in mind when shooting details to ensure the detail you want captured is in focus. For the shot above, I wanted to focus on the little flowers my daughter was giving me, while keeping the rest of the image out of focus. By using a wide open aperture (f 1.8), I was able to create quite a bit of depth in my image and make those details pop.
2. Change your perspective.
Changing the angle you shoot details will change the overall look and feel of your image. A scene shot straight on will look very different than from shooting looking down. I love to shoot looking down onto to my subject and scene and feel like I can capture so many more details from this perspective. Again, keep your aperture in mind when changing perspectives!
3. Get creative with your crops!
I LOVE to crop my photos. I do it all the time in both my personal and professional work to help focus in on a certain detail. Sometimes I will compose my image in camera creatively, and other times I will crop creatively in post-processing. Either way works and will give you a fun and different view point! A unique crop makes for even more emphasis on the detail at hand because it visually draws the viewers attention to a certain aspect of the image!
It's all in the details!! Keep these tips in mind the next time your capturing a certain scene and see if you can creatively photograph those small details!
Raise your hand if you're excited about summer! We are seriously counting down the minutes over in at our house. My kids have already had field day at school and don't really have any more "real" school work this year. It's all just fun and games and I am SO ready to have them home with me!!
Summer is a great time to start a new photography project. You're home (or traveling to fun places), and you usually have your camera in tow anyway! Summer (for me at least) is also an inspiring time to try something new or push yourself creatively!! Here are 5 ideas for a fun summer project!
1. Give underwater photography a try.
If you're in the pool most of the day, you might as well give underwater photography a try! It can be tricky, but it is oh so fun. I use my older GoPro for all of our underwater photos and have been really happy with them! The biggest tip I can give you is to make sure there is lots of light and that you are relatively close to your subject. The more water between you and your subject, the harder it will be to grab focus and get a clear image.
2. Capture a vacation (or a day of your summer).
Planning a fun vacation this summer? Pack your camera along and document a day of your vacation (or just a day of your summer). I always have THE best intentions of lugging my camera around and snapping all kinds of photos, but honestly, when it comes down to it, I just don't feel like toting my big camera around every single day. I usually make it a point to bring out my camera ONE (or maybe two) days during our vacation and snap away on those days! It's a great way to have a snapshot of your vacation while still enjoying the remaining days!
3. Document your summer with a color photo challenge.
Colors are so vibrant and bright during the summer! Challenge yourself to capture a particular color for every day of the week. The kids and I did this a few years ago (they used an Instax camera so they could immediately see their images) and it was tons of fun.
4. Participate in a summer photo prompt challenge.
There are tons of summer prompt challenges out there and they can definitely keep you inspired and motivated throughout those long summer days. Design Aglow is hosting a challenge this summer that looks like loads of fun. Once you sign up, they will send you weekly prompts + inspirational emails to keep you inspired all summer long!
5. Try something new.
I always look at summer as a time to try something new. Summer is only 2-3 months (depending on when you start back school), and it's the perfect amount of time to challenge yourself to try something new. If you hate it, well, the summer will be over in no time. And if you love it, well...that's just a bonus!
Maybe you've been wanting to experiment with a certain lens, or maybe you're intrigued by prisms and copper pipes....now is the perfect time to try those out! For me, I am dusting off my film cameras and am going to shoot film this entire summer. I've dabbled with film here and there before, but have never been brave enough to really give it a go. My plan is to shoot primarily film over the summer months, as well as document ONE day of each month with a roll of film! It's going to be so fun!!
So what's your summer plan? Are you looking for a summer photography project??
I love Lightroom and all the options when it comes to editing and tweaking my images. I also love presets, but often find myself doing crazy tweaks and edits to almost every single preset I own. Rarely do I use a preset as one click. I don't think they are really set up to be a "one click" every time and I'm totally ok with that. Every once in a while I will strike gold and have a one click preset change, but it's pretty rare.
For my professional and client work, I only hand edit and usually start with ONE image from that set and will create my own preset to use on any similar images (typically in that same set). This process has saved me SO much time and energy when it comes to getting my client work edited and uploaded! With my personal work, I'm a little more creative when it comes to editing since I usually only edit 1-2 photos at a time, not 70-100. Editing only ONE image gives me the opportunity to play around, try out my favorite presets, hand edit or what not. There are tons of presets available and I have a few that are my "go-to" for starting (you can read more about my faves here), so I typically just play around and see what I like! And that's where this fun little "secret" called The Fader fits in! Now this is probably not a BIG secret, but it definitely took me a while to stumble upon the fun little Lightroom plug-in. The Fader is FREE (kinda - see below) and is a plug in slider tool that allows you to apply a preset at either a reduced opacity or an increased opacity (up to 150%). The reason I LOOOOOOVE this tool so much is because sometimes presets are just too strong for my style and tastes (and often kill my skin tones), but I still love so many other aspects of that certain preset (like the desaturated greens or the tone curve...). Using The Fader plug in lets me reduce the opacity of that plug in and then tweak any other things I think need adjusted!
*The Fader is technically FREE, meaning you can download and install it today, but it's set up to have a start delay (which becomes longer and longer each time you use the plug in). If you want to get rid of the delay, it's just $10, which I think is totally worth it.
For my professional and client work, I only hand edit and usually start with ONE image from that set and will create my own preset to use on any similar images (typically in that same set). This process has saved me SO much time and energy when it comes to getting my client work edited and uploaded! With my personal work, I'm a little more creative when it comes to editing since I usually only edit 1-2 photos at a time, not 70-100. Editing only ONE image gives me the opportunity to play around, try out my favorite presets, hand edit or what not. There are tons of presets available and I have a few that are my "go-to" for starting (you can read more about my faves here), so I typically just play around and see what I like! And that's where this fun little "secret" called The Fader fits in!
Now this is probably not a BIG secret, but it definitely took me a while to stumble upon the fun little Lightroom plug-in. The Fader is FREE (kinda - see below) and is a plug in slider tool that allows you to apply a preset at either a reduced opacity or an increased opacity (up to 150%). The reason I LOOOOOOVE this tool so much is because sometimes presets are just too strong for my style and tastes (and often kill my skin tones), but I still love so many other aspects of that certain preset (like the desaturated greens or the tone curve...). Using The Fader plug in lets me reduce the opacity of that plug in and then tweak any other things I think need adjusted!
*The Fader is technically FREE, meaning you can download and install it today, but it's set up to have a start delay (which becomes longer and longer each time you use the plug in). If you want to get rid of the delay, it's just $10, which I think is totally worth it.
Check out this quick 5-minute video below to see this fun little "secret" plug in at work!
The BEST secret ever, right?? Goodbye wacked-out skin tones! It's totally worth downloading the free version and playing around!!
Backlit images have SO much more light than just your typical side lit or front lit photo. This extra light (and often haze) makes for those dreamy, magical images, but often editing them seems to take more work and more tweaks. There are a few things I do to almost every backlit image to make them pop. While I adjust all of these same settings with a typical image, I find that I have to apply these effects slightly stronger than I normally would. Obviously, it all depends on the image at hand and what look you are going for, but here are the things I typically do to ever backlit image!
1. Adjust temperature.
Even though I shoot in Kelvin, I find myself always warming my image up in post-processing. I feel like these backlit images just scream warmth, so I try to bump up my temperature to make it match how the image appeared to the naked eye. Warming up the image seems to make everything pop just a little bit more.
2. Increase contrast.
I push my contrast quite a bit with backlit images. The haze and extra light can often soften the subjects and decrease the depth/dimension of the image and increasing the contrasts brings those details back.
3. Decrease highlights.
Digital cameras seem to really pull out those highlights. I always decrease my highlights by about -10 to -20 (or even sometimes completely) depending on the image. If I have more of landscape image, I will use a graduated filter to reduce the highlights (and maybe even the exposure) of the sky. Shooting in RAW gives me the ability to bring back those sky details, which I just love!
4. Increase clarity.
Clarity acts similarly to contrast, so for backlit images, I always bump my clarity up to +5 to +10. A little goes a long way with the clarity slider, and I definitely recommend playing around to see what works best for your photo!
5. Increase luminance.
I love adding luminance to the warmer tones in my image. I feel like it makes the image pop even more. I typically increase both the yellow and orange luminance sliders to add a little more light to those tones!
Have you ever noticed a difference between your RAW images in Lightroom and the way the image appeared in the image preview on the back of your camera? I'm the first to admit it can be pretty disappointing when I open up an image I just LOVED in camera to find it not so awesome in Lightroom. What you are seeing on your camera display is actually a compressed file (not the RAW file), so it will likely be more saturated and defined than when you import that file into Lightroom or Photoshop. No worries, though. Shooting in RAW is still the best way to retain detail in your image + to bring back any detail you may want to recover. Getting that image to look like it did in camera (or better) is super easy! There's really no set rules for how to edit a RAW file, but here are 5 things I do to every RAW image.
1. Correct white balance
I like my photos a little on the warmer side, so I typically always bump up my temperature just a tad bit. I may also adjust the tint slider too to add a little more magenta (rather than green) to my image.
2. Increase contrast
Increasing the contrast of your image will bring out those details and make the objects in your image pop. I usually bring my contrast slider up to around +10 to +25 depending on the image. Just play around with it and see what works for your photo!
3. Adjust highlights/shadows
Your camera is very sensitive to the highlights and shadows in your scene, and depending on how you exposed your shot, you may have blown highlights or dark shadows in your image. I tend to expose for the mid tones or shadows in my photo, so I find myself frequently bringing down my highlight slider to about -10 or so (maybe more depending on the image) and bringing up my shadows to around +10. It obviously depends on how you shoot and what type of image you are aiming for. Again, just play around with these sliders to get the look you want!
4. Add clarity
Adding clarity to your image will help to sharpen the details of your photo. But - a little goes a long way with this slider. Adding too much clarity will make the image seem unnatural and too sharp. Reducing the clarity will blur your image and soften the edges. I use this tool to sharpen my image and increase my slider to around +5 or so. You can also use the brush tool + the clarity slider to soften skin or certain areas of your image!
5. Lens correction
Depending on the focal length of your lens, your image my have distortion or vignetting around the edges of your frame. I use my 24mm and 35mm quite frequently, and since these are wider angle lens, I always correct the distortion/vignetting. Actually, I find that I apply lens correction to every single image regardless of the lens I used. The 50mm and 135mm have very little correction, but it's kind of become a habit in my post-processsing. When you apply lens correction, you will see the depth of your image change, as well as possibly the exposure. I always apply my lens correction first before applying any additional edits to my image!
Do you have a set process or edits you apply to every RAW image?