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 …

Mommy Monday: Batman vs. My New Camera

The only thing I love more than watching Reed play, is watching him play on the beach!  I just recently upgraded my camera, who better to practice the new controls on than “Batman!”.

Even though it was drizzling and cloudy out, we had a good time exploring some new spots and all 3 taking pictures … family time, watching Batman stunts, and exploring help make up for having to learn to use the new camera.

Enjoy!

"Mommy, saaaay cheeese!"

Reed and Daddy finding new places

These are the shots I get when he's running straight at me

They start like this ... and end with me avoiding a tackle.

Here's a Batman stunt

... more stunts.

My handsome little man ♥

 

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!

Photog Friday: In the Beginning …

I’ve gotten a LOT of questions about my studio & its lighting.  Which, if some of you didn’t already know, is my studio is my living room.  I am by NO means a lighting expert! But I can share what I tried and what seemingly works for me.

When I started shopping for lighting, like any of my other gear, I went straight to ebay to check prices & kit set ups.  I found a kit that was reasonable: 2 backdrop stands, cross bar (to hold backdrop), 2 muslin backdrops (white & black), 2 light stands with light holders, 2 CFL 35watt studio bulbs, 2 shoot white shoot through umbrellas and a storage bag … all for $160 (free shipping).

I was so excited thinking it was all I would EVER need! But after setting it all up I found myself shopping for brighter bulbs. I couldn’t get the “look” I was after with the bulbs that came with the kit.

After LOTS of research (mostly on The Strobist’s website), I decided to use a speedlight set up instead of the bulbs. So, I saved up all my pennies and got a Canon 580ex ($450) from Dell and some “ebay triggers” ($40) from Hong Kong.  I got a Westcott 28″ Softbox ($140) for my birthday that year and after a generous donation of a second slave flash & 2nd ebay trigger, LumPro LP120 ($149), I was all set! … well, I’ve added a few bed sheets to my kit but that’s about it.

So, those are the pieces of gear I use.  How to make those work is up to you!! It was a LOT of trial & error and I still play with my settings depending on what I’m doing but here’s how I set those pieces up:

  • Backdrop with muslin (or white/black sheet), bed sheets on ground
  • 580ex flash in the softbox for my main light (triggered with ebay receiver) to camera right
  • slave flash in shoot through umbrella for fill (triggered with ebay receiver) to camera left
  • Ebay trigger on my camera
  • sometimes I use those original bulbs for hair light from back by the backdrop stand … sometimes I just use window light for that (depends on the time of day/sky outside)

And that’s about it! I pack this set up to shoot Newborns in their homes. I use it to shoot everything from families, silhouettes, and preggies with this same set up.  There’s no special “recipe” on how to make it work – depends on the look you’re going for and the amount of practice you’re willing to put into it.

But here are some of my 1st practice shots & some of my lastest work with this same set up … so there’s hope for you too!

1 of the 1st shots with bulbs & kit

Bulbs & kit

Bulbs & kit

1st practice shots with Flash in Softbox

1st session with 2nd flash added to kit

2 flash set up (which is what I still use)

Recent Maternity session with this set up

So, you can see even with the same set up – practice, practice, practice is really what has made a difference!

Email me if you have any questions!! I’m always glad to help … and thanks for stopping by!

Photog Friday: Kodak PlaySport

Happy Friday! Thanks for stopping by my blog … for today’s tip we’ll talk a little bit about gear.

Those who have seen my camera bag know that I’m not the “latest & greatest” type of gear gal.  I decide what I need (hear that, need not want), then I research the heck out of it, then I shop it to death so as not to pay a single penny more than necessary – mostly because I ‘ have an extra penny to waste!

So, with vacation & summer coming I starting thinking about how to get shots at the pool, on the beach, and at the splashpad.  Sure, I could stand back and zoom in but what about while we are out on the kayak or if I’m in the pool with him?  Well, the perfect solution popped in front of me in a magazine!  The Kodak PlaySport – it’s a camera, it’s a video recorder … AND its waterproof! Perfect.

I’m okay with the pictures not being as sharp as I’d normally like.  Being able to get video without freaking out about staying dry is SO worth the 149 bucks!  We took it on vacation, put it in the pool, got it in the ocean, and brought it along for last weekend’s kayaking trip.  LOVE it!

So, here are some of the pictures (straight out of the camera – no edits) so you can see for yourself.  And for those of you on my FB friends list, I posted a video from this same adventure taken with this little camera.