I forgot I have kids all week, that means not much down time for posting let alone processing photos in Lightroom. (updated to add I am now doing this one-handed with sleeping daughter in one arm) So I need everything done FAST especially processing my photos. When I talk about processing I mean the part where I correct the photos for color/tone/exposure etc. Its is amazing what you can do AFTER you take the pictures.
Think your photos aren’t anything special? I have a tip for you. First TURN OFF YOUR FLASH and let your camera automatically adjust for aperture and exposure (have no clue what I am talking about you may want to read these books)– if not no worries, just set the camera to AUTO and shoot away. You will have BETTER looking photos instantly I promise.
Second tip – use some sort of post photo editing program that helps you tweak your photos after. For a long time I was using GOOGLE Picasa – its a FREE program download and it also is very helpful you keeping your photos organized in a visual way. Another great FREE site is
Picnik now PICMONKEY .
Canon comes with ArcSoft PhotoStudio a great program similar to LightRoom but if you are ready for something a little more than the free software, I strongly recommend Adobe’s LightRoom. Its the MUCH lighter version of Photoshop CS4.
UPDATED 1/28/11: I now have CS5 after discovering the world of actions and textures from Florabella Collection (click here for free templates) , MCP and Free Photoshop and PSE actions from The CoffeeShop Blog. All of those links will take you to their free sections!
Updated 2/2014 It’s all about VSCO Films
Along with Lightroom there was the discovery of free presets on www.lightroomkillertips.com. Presets in Lightroom are what Actions are to Photoshop. What are actions you ask? An Action is a recording of a series of Commands in Photoshop to which you apply a name. Actions are created to speed up the photo post process and eliminate the need for you to go through a bunch of commands every time you want to do something in PS. In Lightroom the series of commands can be saved as ONE STEP as a PRESET. Say you want to adjust the tone, darken the edges and apply a white balance correction in one step. You can create one Preset (and name is whatever you want) and save it as a ONE CLICK process. Pretty cool.
Since I neither have the time nor the experience to create my own Presets I simply surfed the net and found some great ones on Matt Kloskowski’s www.lightroomkillertips.com. He has a TON of presets and the instructions how to add them into Lightroom. I used a couple today for this post you’ll see them if you scroll down.
But first a quick look at some of my equipment. Those of you who already know the modchik, know that I have a camera (usually 2) in my hand at all times. I shoot with these:
UPDATED: I made the jump to full frame last May… I still use my Rebel but take a look at this baby.
Canon 5D Mark 2 KIT (24-105 lens)
and this is always in my pocket:
ohhh how I love this little point-and-shoot camera. When I saw Ree of Pioneer Woman fame using this camera I ordered one up on Amazon and I think I have shot over 5000 photos since December with it. I ALWAYS have it in my purse. Some of my fav features of this camera are MACRO (up close shots), WB Option (White Balance adjustment) – you can change it when you are indoors under fluorescent lights so everyone doesn’t end up looking like a smurf! There’s even a FOOD setting and a one touch button to change the white balance so food looks warm and appetizing. You can take video on it as well and if you get a card with a lot of memory, you could take over 1000 12.2 MP (tack SHARP as Ree would say) photos without having to make room for more. This is the one I have 2 actually – one for EACH camera.
If you take a lot of photos like me then get a card reader – its FASTER and very easy to swap cards from different cameras. This is the one I use:
1. popped my card out of the Lexar reader
2. put the card back in the Canon
3. turned on the camera and snapped 5 photos
4. took the card out of the Canon
5. stuck the card back into the reader
7. Exported the photo to upload to my blog.
ALL while holding a sleeping child! I KID YOU NOT!
here you go hot off the press..it was THAT easy!
The only thing I did was apply Matt’s Soft Focus Level 2
— so angelic. I love that I captured her during that 15 minutes of peace.
Here is a screen shot of what I did.
REMEMBER MY 1st TIP? – NO FLASH
Later I will work on my Easter photos with the help of all my presets. I did this one earlier today, it took me literally only seconds to improve it 100%.
I used only 2 presets and VIOLA!
click image above to enlarge
I’m off to make dinner, Rachel Ray’s Italian Pot Pie – my mom made this over Easter weekend and it was SO GOOD I have to have it again! With my camera in hand I will photograph, work some magic in Lightroom and hopefully have some time to share it with you later this week!
(modchik’s disclosure policy on my Amazon links can be found here)