Thursday, February 05, 2009


Annie 35/365

How sweet is this?
Together 35/365

Lucy 35/365

Today I am thankful for getting really great advice, for free, from someone who you respect and are certain that they know what they are talking about. The girls and I had a playdate with our awesome new friend, Janet and her cutie daughter, Goo (this is the nickname they call her and is how she is referred to on the blog - but she has one of my favorite names ever). Goo and Lucy are really similar to one another and they did great today. They mostly played on their own, but they were both really independent and had a great time. I met Janet a few weeks ago at a kickboxing class, we have been emailing, she is the one that inspired me to start the daily giving thanks in my posts, she is also posting everyday this year, and I think we are kind of keeping one another accountable on this project. Janet is a great christian, mother, and wife. I really appreciate her outlook on life and she is a person that will always inspire me to do better. I like that, a lot. We talked today like we had known one another for a long time and I hope we can both learn from one another in the future. She is a fabulous photographer - very, very talented and I have had a lot of questions for her that I finally got to ask today. We got to talking about what mode we shoot in and she convinced me that I need to go back to manual. (If you care nothing about photography, skip to the next paragraph) I have gotten kind of lazy lately and have just shot in Apenture mode because it is quick and easy and I can fix most of the issues that I don't like with some quick post processing. I have never been confident in Manual mode, but I did get where I could get pretty good pictures with it. But again, the lazy side of me stopped practicing once Annie was here because I just wanted to get the pictures. She gave me some advice that will change the way I take pictures from now on and make much less work be needed in post processing. And guess what? Since I love all of my fellow beginner photographers like myself, I will pass the tip on to you. First thing to do is figure out how to set your display mode to show the highlights on your viewfinder when you look at your pictures. If you shoot with a Nikon, go to the menu, then to Display Mode, and then check the Highlights box. I had to uncheck the Histogram box and then click Done. Now, when you take a picture and look at it on your viewfinder, click the upper arrow in the circle thing that you use to scroll through the pictures. This will make it so the highlights show up on each picture you look at. What this means is, the areas of the photo that are blown out from over exposure will start blinking. Next, set your apenture on whatever setting you want for your picture - a low number if you want a shallow depth of field and higher numbers for less blur in the background. Start adjusting your shutter speed until you have a meter reading showing you are properly exposed. Take a picture and see how it looks and where the highlights are. As long as the face does not have highlights on it, don't worry about the any other places in the picture having highlights. Janet and I both like really bright faces, so you can keep slowing down the shutter speed by a couple of stops until you get highlights on the face or the picture starts to blur from too slow of a shutter speed. If you start out getting highlights on the face, increase your shutter speed by two stops, take a picture, and check again. Keep repeating until the face has no highlights because you don't want blown out places on the face. You want all of that detail. It is really easy. You will realize that you don't have to have a perfect meter reading in order to get a great looking picture. I found that my meter always told me I was overexposing by a couple of stops, but I never had highlights on the face. I hope this makes some sense, because it really is very helpful.

So, when Annie got up from her nap, I put her in the AWESOME pettiskirt that Nicki sent her in the mail today (what a fabulous surprise, huh? Thanks again girl!) and out we went to practice. I was stunned by the results. The pictures looked a million times better than my Apenture mode pictures. Her face was bright and the colors were vibrant and it was greatness. Now, it is no secret that my ideal picture is bright, bold, and colorful. I am a big fan of post processing. I love to boost the color, brighten the exposure, increase the blacks, etc. I never post a picture that I haven't tweaked in some way, but these were good enough that I would still be proud of them with no processing because of the great advice from Janet. Thanks again! My picture taking just changed forever because of you. So, go practice this! It is amazing the results that you will get.

And just so you can see, here are the straight out of the camera pictures from this afternoon. Absolutely nothing has been changed in these examples. Then I will give you what I would still do to these pictures. Which do you prefer? Everyone is different so let me know. Do you like the editing or prefer the more natural SOOC look?


Edited (the skirt actually has more detail in this version because I increased the blacks, the face is a bit brighter, etc.):




Lucy 35/365

All of the rest of these have been edited to my exact liking, but they required much less tweaking than I would normally have to do.

Lucy was telling her a big story.










Lucy and Goo checking out the ice skaters.


Anonymous said...

PLEASE keep the photography pointers coming...these are so helpful! I always think you have such a great eye with of course I like the edited pictures best. The pettiskirt is must be a southern thing...I am always seeing kids in them on blogs where people live in the south (esp TX). I don't think I could even find one here :)

Anonymous said...

Kelly--all the pics are wonderful. Way TOO much camera talk for little miss point and shoot here. But, the results are great, so there you have it! I cannot wait to see the girls interacting together. They look like they are really conversing/playing/etc. Too cool. Hope everyone sleeps well. Love and kisses, LeeLee

Beth said...

I am FAR from a photographer, but I liked the ones that you had not edited. Of course, I always love ALL your pictures though. And, the picture of Annie, sitting, looking down at her belly, is probably one of my favorite pictures I've ever seen on your blog.

KrisJ said...

I LOVE what you do to your photos! They all look amazing but I like (depending on the pic) the more tweeked photos! Your amazing and I appreciate all the tips! I have a nikon D40 I think Im not sure if mine does all that you said but Im gonna try... I too LOVE bright faces!

Anonymous said...

It really amazes me you've only been into photography for 1 1/2 years, but it inspires me! I really want to start figuring out what I'm doing but I don't even know where to start. I hope someday I can take pics a fraction as amazing as yours though! I love the petticoat - so adorable! I do like the edited pics - to be honest sometimes I can't really tell the difference in people's before/after, but I could in those. Of course they look great either way!

life with the wisners said...

oh friend. just so you know...that turns me on. :) all that manual mode stuff. does a body good.

seriously? how do i comment on any of this?

first of all, your pictures today? freaking rocked. love the pettiskirt? (i would just call it a tutu.) and love lucy's expressions.

but aside from the outfits (which are always insanely cute), your images today rocked! i know i just said but i can't help it. rocked, rocked, rocked. they are awesome. i can't believe those are sooc. crazy! and wow--the light. they are awesome. the ones of annie is just PURE sunlight. breathtaking.

yay. i am so glad to be buddies. seriously, i know God put us together for a reason.

and i promise i'll call before i show up at your house after dinner with starbucks and my memory card. :)

love you, dude.

JessT79 said...

Beautiful pics again!

Defintely SOOC.

I agree with OURGOLDENCHILD and please keep the photography pointers coming :-)

Dawn said...

Great, great pictures! Katie has a pettiskirt in it! Love the pointers, but I think I need to take a class. Did you ever take a class, or just learn as you go? I am so envious of that nice weather you must be having. Can't wait to wear short sleeves and bare feet here. Unfortunately we have many more weeks of winter here in CNY!

Jenny said...

I need to try that out. I have a canon but have something very similar just haven't ever used it. (it forces you to use a higher iso). But would love to see the highlights better in faces.

And I hear ya on the just use the aperture setting. Sometimes I just want the pictures to look nice without messing around!

We have those pettis for my girls 3rd b-day! Soo cute!

Anonymous said...

That petticoat looks adorable on Annie! And I love the pictures of Lucy enjoying her cookie! Nothing like sunshine and a cookie to make a girl smile! :)

I'm hoping to get a Nikon D40 for my birthday in June so the tips are so helpful. However, I also really enjoy the photoediting talk. I downloaded the trial version of Photoshop Elements last night, and I'm overwhelmed! :p

The picture of Annie and Lucy having a conversation is my fav from today! :)

Kate said...

Your pictures are so bright today, love it! Fav photo is of Annie in her petti looking down. Thanks for the tips. I've really got to buckle down and learn my new camera, it just takes time. I'm also guilty of leaving my setting on aperture, which is totally a lack of confidence thing for me.

And can I just say, I'm so jealous! I'd love to spend the day with you and talk photography....and cute clothes!

stollmyheart said...

So the good thing is that I sorta understand most of what you said...the bad news is that now I'm going to obsessively be trying to shoot in manual now that I've finally gotten comfortable in aperture mode :) Keep the tips coming...

Ani said...

I know nothing about photography, to me all the pics looked great!

Love, love Annie's skirt. Makes me long for a baby girl!!!!

Christina said...

Janet sounds like such an awesome new friend! A great photography and mommy buddy - sweetness! I've gotten lazy about usually shooting in AP mode too, but you're going to inspire me to go back to full manual. Your images look incredible SOOC! I am a fan of your processing -you enhanced them just right.

MKH said...

Kelly! Thank you SO much for the camera tips-I'm really trying to learn-so far to go, but any small tip is priceless to me-so thank you for passing it along! I guess I do like the edited pics a bit better-just because their faces are brighter like you said. But, even the un-edited ones are amazing. can't go wrong!! I'm going to try the tip you gave. thank you again and by the way, the pics are amazing. I know I say that every time, but it's really a geniune comment! keep it going! megan

Jena said...

hey girl-
I tried to send you an email today and it got bounced back...
Can you email me?

Anonymous said...

So, so helpful, although I'm completely overwhelmed with the photography info. I'm trying desperately to be a better photographer of my son (also from VN), but it's a slow process. Would you mind sharing which software you like to use?

Anonymous said...

I love the pettiskirt. I just got mine in the mail today and I'm soooo excited for our 10-month photo shoot w/ Addy. It must be a southern thing (I'm from LA). Thanks for the photo tips and I agree to keep them coming. Photography is a huge hobby and I just love it but want to get better and it can be overwhelming. You are doing an awesome job and I always look forward to seeing your pics for the day.

Erica said...

Very good tip. I will be emailing you privately about a photog question. Your photos are always beautiful!

Anonymous said...

You're waaay better at photography than I, but I have to say I liked to SOOC shots on this one. The girl's faces had more of the beautiful natural browns in it that I love about my own Vietnamese Prince.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the camera tips! I got here via sugar photography and I will definitely try out your tips when I get my Nikon D40. Thanks!