Mommy Monday: Jumping Wild Things!

Just about every “Family Day” we get is spent at the beach. I could spend hours just sitting and watching my wild thing discover his newest moves. Wild Things don’t sit still,  not for a moment much less a picture! So, I’ve learned to work with what I can get and just have fun with it. And if your wild thing is like mine, you can get them to “jump AGAIN!” quite a few times in order to try a composite like this one below (made up of 5 images).

Pretty soon, I’ll have 2 of them running around yelling, “Watch THIS, mom!” and the fun will be doubled!

 

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Photog Friday: Too Grainy?

Happy Friday!

If you’ve been practicing shooting in the house, you may have noticed there are rooms with horrible lighting or distracting backgrounds. In these shots below, the lighting was decent enough to turn off my flash but that meant I needed to up my ISO. And whenever you’re shooting in low light and have to raise your ISO, you might notice that the shots look “grainy”. So, now I find myself with grainy shots with a distracting background … what can you do?

Convert them to black & white my friends! Then add a little contrast and you’re done. A grainy shot that you didn’t like in color, now looks timeless.

The black & white also embraces the emotion.

Here are some shots of my beautiful little niece at 5 months old …

You can find more posts on indoor lighting HERE and HERE. And feel free to email/comment with any questions, I don’t have all the answers but I know people who do!

Thanks for stopping by!

Photog Friday: Tagging your Wild Thing in Abode’s Lightroom

One of the worse things in the world is to wake up in the middle of the night and remember a family outing where you took tons of pictures of but never had time to look at the shots … “there were a few I was kinda excited about … is it too late to post Christmas pictures? … I wonder where those shots are saved”. It will haunt you!

Well, dig through files & folders no more! One of the reasons I started using Lightroom was its keyword tagging feature. Every time I upload a card, I can tag the shots with whatever details I will need to find that set of shots later. I typically use the Month/year, location, name of anyone in most of the shots, and any other detail that might help me find the set of shots later. So, like this: Dec 2010, Balboa Island, Reed, Christmas lights. Because let’s be honest, Christmas time is crazy – its February and I’m just now wondering what shots I got on that trip we took to see the Christmas lights … phew! I tagged them and can find them now without cussing.  It may be too late to post them (or too embarrassing – its almost March) BUT I can at least process them and save JPG memories to be flipped through next year.

Here’s a snapshot of what Lightroom’s tags look like:

I’ve seen I can tag my JPG shots in Windows as well … someday I get to that.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions! And please don’t forget to comment …

Photog Friday: Rule of Thirds

Happy Friday!!
This week I want to talk a little about the Rule of Thirds. Its definitely something that has helped my photography. I used to use the rule in editing when I cropped my shots, but remember – when you crop down, you’re losing resolution on your shot! So, think about the Rule of Thirds while you’re shooting and save yourself some resolution in the end!

What is the Rule of Thirds?

Basically, the principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking up what your seeing into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you end up with 9 parts.

rule-of-thirds

You can do this in your head as your taking the shot. The intersections on the grid is where you will what to put your points of interest. These are the focus points and where our eyes are drawn to in an image. Anything you put at these points will be emphasized.

The lines that break up the image are important too. These lines will be what you use to position the elements in your shot.

In theory, if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced and will be more pleasing to the viewer. You may be tempted to center your subject but studies have shown that since people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally instead of the center.

Here’s how you can use the Rule of Thirds … eyes are a great place for the point of focus, here are some of examples:

Below, I’ve put the subject along the vertical line. This makes him waaay off center and that creates a point of interest on the opposite side of the image (the bird he’s trying to sneak up on). Vertical lines are great points for people, buildings, trees. Horizontal lines work great for horizons &  landscapes.

Here’s landscape shot, position horizons along one of the horizontal lines to help balance the shot.

For some the Rule of Thirds is natural but for everyone else it takes a little time and practice for it to become second nature. While you’re practicing :thinking in the rule”, you’ll want to ask yourself:

  • What are the points of interest in this shot?
  • Where am I intentionally placing them?

And you won’t always be able to take the shot according to the rule and that’s OK!! Just keep it in mind in processing. If you’ve never used that rule before, you should go back to some old shots and apply it – you’ll like your shot much better!

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!

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!