Friday, June 26, 2015

Lazy hazy Days of Summer--tutorial

Here it is... The tutorial you've been waiting all weekend for. (or not.) But really, I hope you learn something...
This is my little 5 going on 25 year old, Maddie. Friday night we found ourselves on a nearby train track just as the sun was setting. Ahhh, perfect for a nice back lit lazy hazy summer picture. right? I thought so too. So I want to show you the steps I take to get to this:

from this:
(Note: All my editing is done in Adobe Lightroom)

When I first went through my pictures from the evening I have to admit, I pretty much just passed by the above picture. It didn't really call out to me...except for the fact that I liked her expression. It's real. Many times Maddie seems to only be able to give me those forced looks that I'm not too fond of. I like natural. And this was natural Maddie. But I didn't like all that empty space around her. I also don't like the subject to face or look "out of my picture". See how she is slightly looking to the right? She's looking "out of the picture". If she were looking to the left (into the frame), I may not have cropped the picture because she would be looking "into the picture".

SO I then cropped the picture to look like this:

I usually always crop my picture first and then work on enhancing or changing the coloring. So now that it's cropped I increased the blacks quite a bit (44). Chances are if I'm working with back lit pictures I almost always increase the blacks. The brightness and harshness of the sun tends to wash out the color. But by increasing blacks, the color becomes more apparent.

Next, I felt like the picture looked a little dull, especially her dress so I slightly increased the brightness (+21). And to get it to pop I also increased the contrast (+23).

At this point I just wasn't fully satisfied with the picture. I liked it but I didn't feel like it Captured the look and feeling of the evening. I wanted more of a warm lazy summertime glow. Which means the colors need to be a slightly muted. So I decreased the vibrance (-45).

And last, to give it that glow, I increased the temperature (+26). I also took that little spot by her right hand out using the spot removal tool. It was bugging me. :) So there you go, the final image...

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. I'd love to see some of your summer days pictures. I plan on starting a flicker group where we can all showcase our improvements. Until then..happy Monday to you!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

10 Tips to Awesome PHONE Photos (PLUS a free ebook!)


I know, I I am, a professional photographer, encouraging you how to use your phone camera.

 Let me explain myself...I love using my digital SLR camera to capture stunning, gorgeous, breathtaking images. SLR cameras are an amazing tool and I get mine out at least weekly, if not daily. However, if I'm being truthful I find my SLR to be big, clunky, and kind of a pain to carry around with me everywhere I go. I use to carry my cumbersome SLR with me at all times capturing almost every single moment of our lives.

Until about a year and a half ago.

Until I got an iPhone 5.

All of a sudden my life changed. I had a super portable camera that I carried with me at all times AND I could edit my photos AND I could publish them pretty much instantaneously. Wow.

Do I think my phone camera can completely replace my SLR camera? Heavens no. My SLR camera is able to produce shots that my phone camera simply cannot do. But having a good camera on your phone and (most importantly) knowing how to use that camera to take awesome pictures means catching moments you might have otherwise missed.

With that said, Let's begin. Here are 10 tips for you to follow so YOU can start taking beautiful photos with your phone.  

Side note: All the photos in the post were taken with my iPhone 5. As you will see, I take A LOT of phone pics of my youngest. :)

 1- Go Toward the Light

 I can't emphasize just how important having lots of light is. Without going into a lot of technical mumbo jumbo just remember that more light will equal sharper photos. So when you are outside during the day you will be able to get some awesome sharp photos. Or if you're taking a picture inside just move toward the window. That will usually give you a sharp photo as well. Side note: Above all try to use natural light when possible. Natural light will give you a better photo than artificial light. IG3 IG6

2-Face the Light

As you move toward the light position your subject so that they are facing the light source. When your subject is facing the light it illuminated their face and also gives that catch light in their eyes. IG4 3- 

3-Hold Still

 I know this sounds like a no-brainer but you would be surprised by how many people are taking blurry pictures because they are moving. If you are in a low light situation you will really want to hold as still as possible because your shutter speed will be slower that if you are in full sun. Sometimes I will even hold my breath while I'm touching the shutter speed to minimize any movement.  

Side note: When pressing the shutter speed, use a light touch and refrain from tapping the screen too hard as that could cause the camera to shake.


4- Set Your Focus and Exposure

 Did you know you could change where the camera is focusing? By simply tapping (or rather lightly touching) the screen of where you want your focus to be you can change the focus and the exposure. By default your camera will focus on a prominent face or toward the center of the screen. But if you need the focus to be elsewhere, just tap the screen.

Also by default the camera will set the exposure (how light or dark the photo is) by the amount of light in the focused area. So if your photo looks too dark simply tap on an area of the photo that is dark so that the camera will compensate for the darkness by making the entire photo lighter.

 Side note: I use a camera app called, Camera+, this camera allows me to set the focus area and the exposure separately. I use the camera my phone came with about 80% of the time. But if I'm in a back light situation I will use Camera+ so that I can tap the darkest part of my picture thus giving enough light to illuminate people's faces.


5- Take LOTS of Pictures

I know this sounds like a weird tip but hear me out. Whenever I'm trying to get a a particular shot I never settle for just one or two shots. I take shot after shot often times without my subject even knowing it. (Turn off the sound on your phone so no one can hear when you're taking the picture.) The reason being is so that you will have ample photos to choose from. In a split second someone's eyes could close, or you might miss the best smile if you're just settling with one shot.  

6- Frame Your Photo Using the Surrounding Environment

To make your photos more appealing try using the surrounding architecture like windows, doors, trees etc. to frame your focus and draw the viewers eye toward the subject. Side note: Be sure that you are aligned properly to have straight lines. You will want to keep your camera perfectly vertical and be at the correct angle. So you may have to squat down or rise the entire camera up to achieve straight lines and angles.

IG9 IG8  

7- Use Back lighting To Your Advantage

The hour before the sun sets is a magical hour. You can capture some awesome pictures. Have your subject with their backs toward the setting sun to capture that beautiful glow. Side note: Review Tip 4 and remember to use the camera app called, Camera+. This will greatly improve your success with back lighting on your phone camera.
 IG10 IG11  

8- Apps Can Save the Day!

Often times a photo can be distracting if there is too much going on. To remedy this I will occasionally use an app called, AfterFocus. This app allows you to blur out the background thus helping the view to focus on the subject instead of the distracting background. I also like to turn a photo black and white if the coloring or different colors aren't taking away from the overall look and feel of the photo. My favorite black and white conversion is in the photo editing app Afterlight called, Ash.

 IG1 IG2

A fun app that adds a bit of pizzaz is called, Rays. What this apps does is add actual sun rays to your photo.


9- Edit, Edit, Edit

I edit 90% of my photos. That's really where the magic comes from. I use the editing apps to straighten, crop, add saturation, brightness, etc. I could do an entire blog post on editing phone pics alone so I won't go into editing now. But my suggestion is to play around with the apps and see what they do. You will learn so much just by trial and error to see what kind of changes you can make.  

 10- Use a Lens Yes, they actually make lenses for phone cameras! To be honest, I don't use mine as much as I thought I would but it's fun to get out every once in a while. I have 3 lenses, a wide angle, a fish eye, and macro. The macro is my favorite.


Now are you ready for your free ebook?

To help you out even more I've written/put together a book called, InstaLove. This ebook came about because I wanted to know how some people were getting such amazing photos with their phones. I would oooh and ahhh over many Instagram feeds scratching my head trying to figure out how in the world they captured such a shot. So I asked them. I asked 14 of my favorite Instagrammers (i.e.: phone photographers) a series of questions like, "How do you get such vibrant photos?", "How do you get a super sharp picture?", and "What are you favorite editing apps". They spill the beans on every thing. It's all in there. Nothing is held back. I'm in there as well and I share even more tips and tricks in the book.


Download your FREE Instalove eBook here.

  Please feel free to follow me on Instagram. I Love to follow people back so that we can get to know each other. It's fun for me to get a little glimpse into your life. My feed is:
And finally, do you have some Phone camera tips and tricks? Please share!!
As always, let me know if there is anything I can do to support your photography goals.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let me help you learn!

I LOVE to teach people how to take gorgeous photos! To get you started, get my 2 FREE products...

1-{ebook} InstaLove-How to take amazing photos with your PHONE!
2-{video} Biggest Photography Struggles Answered-This is a MUST watch to blast your photography skills out of the water.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Online Photography Workshop created just for you.

i asked.
    you spoke.
i listened.

I'm really liking this relationship.
I asked:
  • What is your most important goal or biggest challenge you are currently facing in regards to photography?
You spoke:
  • "I want to have the ability to capture memories as I see and feel them."
  • "I want to know how to use this big expensive camera that I bought."
  • "I don't have enough time to sit down for hours and learn photography."
  • "I want to turn my photography passion into a business."
  • "I'm frustrated with the confusing and seemingly endless photography terms and knowing what they mean and how to apply them."
  • "I just want to know how to take pretty pictures like the ones I see on Pinterest."
I listened:
  • I've created a 4-part online workshop covering exposure, lighting, composition, editing and much more in simple easy to understand terms. I hold your hand and teach you how to easily go from saying good-bye to auto and hello to professional photos!
  • I teach how you can take Pinterest worthy photos in a compact, no fluff 65-page, 4-video course that is designed WITH YOU IN MIND. You can learn at your own pace while I take you step-by-step through the fundamentals of photography ensuring you won't get frustrated or lost along the way. You will be taught through written material, video, and a supplemental workbook.

The solution to go further in photography the fastest possible way is...

Here is what you will learn:
Part 1: Camera Gear & Exposure
·      How different lenses affect your pictures
·      What gear I use and why
·      Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO and how they work together
*An in-depth video further explaining gear and exposure is included to supplement the written material.
*The workbook contains homework for Part 1 and assignments to help you understand what you are learning and how apply it.
Part 2: Camera Settings & Lighting
·      What shooting mode to have your camera on and why
·      How to get tack sharp focusing
·      JPEG vs. RAW
·      White Balance and how to use it properly
·      Where to position your subject to get their eyes to sparkle
·      How to do back lighting & silhouettes
·      How to take indoor pictures without a flash
* An in-depth video showing and explaining where and how to find the best light is included to supplement the written material.
*The workbook contains homework for Part 2 and assignments to help you understand what you are learning and how apply it.
Part 3: The Shoot & Composition
·      Step-by-step instructions on how to run a photo shoot
·      Ideas to help children and adults act more natural in front of the camera
·      The rule of thirds and how it will improve your photography
·      Why it's important to fill the frame
·      Framing ideas
* An in-depth video of me teaching and explaining during an actual shoot is included to supplement the written material.
*The workbook contains homework for Part 3 and assignments to help you understand what you are learning and how apply it.
Part 4: Editing
·      Pro's and con's of various editing software
·      My basic edits to get pictures to really pop
·      How to crop a photo to get the most visual impact
·      A simple step-by-step to get a stunning black and white
·      How to fix a photo if it's not perfect straight out of the camera
*In the video portion you will follow along as I show you all of my photo editing steps, tips and tricks in Lightroom.
*The workbook contains homework for Part 4 and assignments to help you understand what you are learning and how apply it.

Entire Workshop only $285

Click here to buy now!

"Katie's teaching ability goes way beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. She has a gift for being able to explain things so that I can actually understand them. Because of her teachings my photos have improved ten-fold!"   -Carrie B.

"Katie's products are so amazing! I have read a lot of photography books and Katie's finally had the exact information I was looking for...straight to the point and so easy to follow. Katie
has been a
HUGE help and gave me hope to see that I can achieve the type of jaw-droppingly- beautiful photos I am longing for."   -Amy W.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I have a BRAND NEW site!

I'm thrilled to share with you my new project...

It's a website where I teach you EVERYTHING you need/want to know about photography through short concise video's. Yes, I've written a book all about photography... but this time I am able to explain everything in person. AND I have much more content than what I've written in my books.

I've made a short video explaining what it's about...

Check out the new site, Key to Pictures!

Like I said in the video, my mission is to help anyone who wants to learn about photography succeed. So in order to do that I have priced the monthly subscription at only $17 a month.


* Access to all of the photography lessons on the site at any time.
* A new video each week sent directly to your email.
* The opportunity to ask me your photography questions which I will answer in the Q& A video on the last day of each month.

Check it out!!! Let me know what you think!


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