The Serenity of a Cornfield

Little Serene has been one of my favorite beauties to photograph! I had this image pop in my head that I just had to try and who better to grace them than her … and she made the shots perfect! Which was a relief because this field was the 3rd field we went to to find the corn … and the machines were starting to harvest it on the other end! Guess I don’t know much about farming, apparently I picked the week after the harvest starts to try to get my images … but I think it all worked out!

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Mommy Monday: So Proud

Sometimes I wonder if you ever really know if you’re doing a good job raising your kid. No sooner do I wonder that then Reed shows me something beautiful, something within him that makes me believe I have to be doing something right. Those are the days a mom just wells up and smiles from ear to ear – one of those days was the day Reed met his new cousin Audrey.

It wasn’t just his ooo’s and ahhh’s at her, or the “she’s cuuute”, it was the way he looked at her, and relentlessly begged to hold her. It was the way he wiggled in between my sister and me on the couch so he could be closer to the baby. He even offered up his hands for antibacterial gel when requested … small price to pay to get to hold her!

My work brings Reed in contact with lots of babies, he seemed to understand this one was special. Special kids seem to run in our family. Days like this make all the stubborn-no-nap-not-listening toddler days worth it!  Thank you Lord for the special blessings we call our children.

Photog Friday: It’s All in the Eyes

Happy Photog Friday!!

I’ve gotten a lot of requests asking for help on editing eyes. So, here are the basics on how I edit eyes in Lightroom. Please don’t forget – there’s more than 1 way to skin a cat! And these steps may not look right on every shot, so edit to YOUR taste. Make some tweaks, make it yours. You’ll also need to practice using the Lightroom tools to make these changes. It’s really easy to make the eyes “POP” but be careful because too much editing can make your little ones eyes turn alien!

Here are the BEFORE & AFTER shots:

The BEFORE is a screen shot taken after other changes to contrast & colors were already made. I usually do the edits on the eyes last so Lightroom doesn’t make any additional changes to them.

Just making those adjustments to the overall shot makes usually the eyes look better with the increase contrast anyway.

So, to start Click on the adjustment brush (looks like a match with a halo) just under the histogram. Under “Mask” you’ll see all the effects, I start with “Clarity” set it all the way to 100 and brush the eyelashes and irises. Leaving your cursor over the little black dot on the adjustment will let you see where the adjustments are being made (highlights them in red).

Next, I use a preset that I named “Eyes” created to bring out the iris. You can see those settings below. But adjust them to your liking. You can decide to increase exposure instead of brightness but it seems to be working for me this way.

Finally, I use a preset I create for teeth but I’ve found it works great for whiten up the eyes and bringing out more reflection in the eyes.

And that’s about it!! Doesn’t take long and makes a HUGE difference! Here’s the end result one more time but feel free to comment with any questions!! But really its all like using your camera: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Beautiful Belly

One of my passions is shooting Maternity Sessions. I can’t say it enough – ALL expecting mothers are beautiful! Some day, I hope to have a calendar FULL of scheduled bellies with Newborns to follow! Pregnancy & Newborn are such short lived stages in our lives, fleeting moments, gone in a blink. Every mother deserves to have beautiful pictures of such a special time in their lives! I LOVE LOVE LOVE capturing the beautiful images of a new life – thank you Lord for the blessings!

Mommy Monday: Prime & my boy

It’s Mommy Monday!!

To know Reed is to know he loves Transformers. He often introduces himself as “Megatron” (and adds a “your powers are useless on me”) … I’m thinking he needs more social time with kids his age.

But anyways, it came to no surprise to us that he picked out a Transformer pinata for his birthday. So, we took home Optimus Prime because who else is Megatron going to fight, duh!

A couple of days before his birthday we had to have the discussion about what a pinata was because Reed had been spending time in the laundry room to chat with his new buddy.  I explained, “this Prime is a pinata and we’re going to hit it until candy falls out”. When Reed’s response was, “well mommy, maybe if we ask nicely, Prime will just give us the candy”.

Uh-oh!

But I put my money on Reed’s love for candy being stronger than his love for Prime and I asked him to help me fill the pinata … that worked! He was the 1st in line to smack that thing open!! … phew!

Photog Friday: Learning to Love Lightroom

Happy Friday!!

This week I want to talk about one of the biggest leaps I made as a photographer – learning to use Lightroom.  One of my girlfriends sent me a couple of shots for a few editing tips and I thought I’d share those tips with all of you.

I hear a lot of moms say they need to buy Photoshop but can’t because its too expensive – needing Photoshop is a myth. I don’t have Photoshop, don’t know how to use it, and I think I get by just fine without it! All the editing I do is in Adobe’s Lightroom. It’s a non-destructive way to edit your shots in a easier to use format … and costs a LOT less! Seems to me you can really mess up your shot in Photoshop if you don’t know what you’re doing. Work smarter, not harder mommies!

But I’m not going to lie, the 1st couple of weeks after buying Lightroom, I was overwhelmed to tears. But I quickly refused to let my purchase be a waste of money. I searched the internet for tutorials and before I knew it Lightroom & I were BFFs! I’m a huge fan and my shots very rarely get pulled up in any other program. Every once in a while I have an edit I need to do in GIMP (a free Photoshop like program) but we’ll go over that another day.

Let’s talk little about Lightroom. First of all, it uses sliding tools to make changes – love that! It makes things so easy to adjust, re-adjust, or start over. Here’s what that looks like:

But rather than just singing more praises … let’s look at some shots edited in Lightroom!

Before:

Photographs courtesy of Ali Rineheart Photography

After:

In this shot I made the following changes: increased exposure +.05, increased brightness +65, increased contrast +25, bumped the vibrance +64, and increased the saturation +6. I also brightened and whiten the eyes. When I more these adjustments it created a weird green/yellow cast on the girls hair – no problem in LR! I just pulled the yellow slider down -52 and done! It didn’t take me very long and you can see a big difference. And in Lightroom if I find that I’m making a lot of the same changes to my shots, I can save those edits in a “preset” so next time all I have to do is hit 1 button and all the edits are recreated!

Before:

Photographs courtesy of Ali Rineheart Photography

After:

Love, love, love this shot! In this shot I made the following changes: increased exposure +.29, increased brightness +20, and increased contrast +46. And again, I also brightened and whiten the eyes.

You can see what a difference you can make to your photos mommies! I still have LOTS to learn and by NO means think my edits are perfect, I just edit til I like the shot better. If you want to try it out, you can also download a trial version of Lightroom from Adobe’s website! There are TONS of free tutorials on YouTube … so go do it!

Email me with any questions. You can also comment here if you have any feedback – I love comments!

A Family at the Park

Some of you may remember the cute little faces in this family, I did Maddie’s 1 year pictures this last spring. I was excited to do their Family Session and they picked a location that was new to me! This location was special to them because mom & dad got married here. It worked out great & I would have liked to shoot there again before I left Arizona. For this shoot we started early before it got too hot & everyone did great!

Mommy Monday: The Harbor

Its tricky to get Reed out of the water & off the beach but every once in a while we’re able to convince him there are other interesting things to see down by the water. One of his favorite beaches is at the harbor. There are paddle boarders everywhere, pirate ships, and fishermen. He likes to walk over to “Reed’s bridge” to see it all … but only for a minute then he’s back to “Reed’s beach” – and we’re happy to just follow around behind him.

Photog Friday: Sunshiny Faces

Happy Friday! This week’s Photog Friday tip will hopefully help you get better shots in full sun.  With all the beautiful weather, more Wild Things come out to play – be ready to get some shots even in full sun!

Three Steps for shooting Sunny Faces:

Step 1: Take it all in. Before you start shooting, look around, be aware of where the sun is (and isn’t).

Step 2: Be ready to move. It might seem like a good idea to get your Wild Thing to pose under a tree, but are the leaves creating strange shadows on their face? Are the harsh shadows making your Wild Thing look like a raccoon? Harsh shadows from leaves or under the eyes aren’t going to work. Look for these shadows before you even put the camera to your eye. In the picture below of my sister, you’ll see some harsh shadows from the tree. Pick a different spot and MOVE if you notice these shadows.

Step 3: Shift away the sun! Now you have the sun behind them, ask them to turn their heads until there aren’t any “hot spots” on their face, like the picture here (sun isn’t behind her but you get the “hot spot” idea). With little ones this may mean you need to move so they turn their heads to look at you in a different direction. In really bright sun, you can’t completely avoid hot spots but you’ll be much happier if its up on their head instead of their face, like the shot below! Ideally, you want the sun behind your wild thing. If you were paying attention to the sun’s position before you started, you saved yourself precious “cooperation points” – wild things award points sparingly, so use them wisely!

So, there you have it! The more you slow down and take it all in to begin with, the fewer modifications you’ll have to make once you’ve asked for their “cheeeese”. You may only have 1 chance to get that wild thing to interrupt his play to look at the camera – make it count!

Family Fun

This family was so fun to shoot! It got WARM quick this particular morning, but the boys were great sports. We all great a great time and I was able to capture some loving moments. The Dunns are great people and I was glad I had the chance to work with them! Here are some of my favorite shots of the day.