Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Lucy 70/365

Annie 70/365

Today I am thankful for the fact that the girls sleep in a full hour later with the time change, but they still go to bed at the same time. I am sure I have said this before, but I don't function well in the morning. We are SO blessed because even when the girls get up early, it is never before 7:15 am. Lucy has done this every year, when the time changes, she becomes a total lazy bones in the morning. She is sleeping until around 8:15 or 8:30 and Annie is sleeping until almost 9!!!! Can I just say, I LOVE when they sleep in. I hope this sticks. Annie got 14 hours of sleep last night. She went down a few minutes before 7, woke up for 5 minutes for a bottle around 4 and slept until a few minutes before 9. Gotta love that. On school days, I let Lucy sleep until the last possible minute, wake her up and have her fed, dressed, ready and out of the door in about 20 minutes. We have a pretty great routine down. I am thankful for every extra minute of precious sleep or quiet time that I get in the mornings.

Justin went back to the doctor today. Another blood test and a chest xray just to make sure it wasn't pneumonia since he has this horrible, painful, chest cough. Both came back fine. He is still just really sick from having the flu. I hate that he has been so sick for SO long. It has been hard on us all.

I feel the need to say this before any and every post that I talk about photography stuff - I think I know what I am talking about, but who knows? I have to laugh out loud at myself for a moment. I was reading through a section of my post from yesterday this afternoon and noticed that I called aperture apenture. Twice. So funny since I am giving photography "advice" and I can't even spell the terms. I noticed it myself and just wanted to point out that I am not, in fact, a total moron, just a partial moron. Are you sure you want advice from me still?? To be perfectly honest, I think that I have maybe always spelled it incorrectly and just never noticed until today. Not my best. I do this because I know when I was in the beginning stages of learning, I was desperate for any help I could get. So if this is helpful to even one person, then I have done my part.

So here is my standard photo processing workflow. I dump all of the pictures that I took from the day onto my external hard drive via Lightroom. Lightroom has this great feature where you can go through and reject photos. I am sure this is hard for you to believe, but I take a lot of pictures. A whole lot. And a whole lot of them are no good at all. There is no reason at all to keep crappy photos. I am certain, you will never be digging through photos and say, "Where is that really terrible picture I took back in March?" So get rid of them, especially when you are shooting in RAW because the files are too huge to keep the bad ones. So, I reject the bad photos and delete them. I usually make myself go back through them again after my initial deletes because there are almost always more that need to go when I get a second look.

After I only have the images left that I want to keep and work on, I get started. Now that I am understanding my camera and manual mode, I have to make much less adjustments, but a few months ago, I almost always had to increase the exposure and clarity of the picture. I go through and see how different presets look on the set of pictures because they always look different based on the light in the photo. I find a preset that I like for the set and apply it to most of the pictures. I always play around with a few of the pictures just to work on doing some different type of edits. This whole process does not take me long, unless I took a zillion pictures, which is not unreasonable to assume happened for a day. After I am happy with how the pictures look in LR, I export a jpeg copy of each image to my hard drive.

Now that I have jpegs in addition to the RAW original files, I will open Photoshop CS3 if I felt like any of the pictures needed something else. I will often go in and tweak my black and whites or remove boogers! :) I ONLY open the few pictures that I think absolutely must have additional work done in PS. This 365 challenge would consume me if I tried to do them all in PS as well. Now, if iI am editing for a client, it takes a whole lot longer because it is important to me that every image looks its absolute best, so I do edit all of those in PS in addition to LR. I mostly use PS for blemish/dirt issues, to give more depth to a black and white, and to sharpen if it is needed. I do not sharpen every picture. In fact, most of the pictures you see on this blog are only sharpened how Lightroom does every photo, which is almost nothing. I get really turned off by photos that are over sharpened. I hate how hair looks and it just gets to be too much to me. I do think that every digital photo needs a slight sharpen though to get rid of that little bit of digital fuzz.

And that is it. Then I upload all of my final images to Flickr and dump them on this blog.

Several of you asked about your shots being blurry and how to fix that. It is one of two things. Either your lens has not held its focus on your moving target or your shutter speed is too slow for the action. If you are shooting something like a running child or a sporting event, change your focus setting to Continuous Focus. On a Nikon, there is a switch on the front of the camera by the lens that has three choices - M, S, and C. M is manual, s is single focus, and c is continuous. If you are taking pictures of fast movement, choose C. This will keep the lens focusing nonstop on whatever subject is in your autofocus area. You have to keep the shutter held down halfway to keep it focusing all of the time. When you are not shooting a fast moving subject, I would keep it on S. Focus on whatever you want to be in focus (it is ALWAYS the eyes for me, or Annie's toes :)), keep the shutter held down halfway, and reposition the frame to your liking. This will hold the focus on where you started, but you don't have to have the eyes in the dead center of the picture. If shutter speed is your problem, you are only going to be able to fix this if you have enough light to keep a fast shutter speed. In order to have the fast shutter speed required to "freeze" action, you need enough light around to support it. You can't have a really fast shutter speed with little light because there is not enough time to draw in enough light. When shooting action, I think you need a shutter speed of 1/250 at the bare minimum, and I prefer faster, like 1/500. When you see the numbers on the setting of your camera, the shutter speed (on a Nikon) is the number to the left of the f stop. On your camera, it will say 250 or some other number, but this actually reflects a fraction: 1/250th of a second. That means that the shutter opens and closes in 1/250th of a fraction, which is really fast. The higher the bottom number of the fraction goes, the faster the shutter opens and closes. So, if you are trying to catch a crisp image of a child playing soccer, you need a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement. If you have a slower shutter speed, even 1/100th, you image will be blurred because the subject was moving too fast for the length of time the shutter was open to freeze the motion. I have no idea if this makes any sense, but it does in my head. You can get REALLY cool shots with a really slow shutter speed of a second or longer, but you need a tripod or else the picture will be blurry just from your hand shake. Lights are especially cool with a slow shutter speed. Your manual or the Digital Field Guide for your camera will be helpful with things like this. There are also some awesome books called Understanding Exposure and Understanding Shutter Speed that I highly recommend. They are extremely helpful.

I barely took any pictures today. It was cold, dark, and rainy all day long. Don't hold the bow in Annie's hair against me. I was playing around with Lucy's bow and kind of forgot it was there. I am so used to seeing bows in Lucy's hair that I really didn't even notice it when I was snapping pictures. Her poor hair is just crazy. It is not long enough to lay down but not short enough to stay completely spikey (which is how I love it). I kind of wish it would stay short and spikey for a while longer on top. It is just so cute.

Here is my new hair cut from today. Like I said, I love getting my hair done. You just feel better afterwards. I look like such a dork - I have such a natural fake smile. Ha :)


She seriously never stops drooling.



Kelli said...

Love the new haircut- I can't wait to go this weekend! Thanks for all of the photo advice- I really think I just need to print these posts off so i can read and play with my camera at the same time.

Shawna said...

The hair looks fabu Kel! I hate that J is still so, so sick...I feel like he's been getting super sick a lot lately. Yuck! Feel better J!

LauraPBS said...

Wow - my favorite pic I took today (in RAW!!!) was my son through the window - just like Annie's! Weird, huh?

Come see - I also give you props for your advice:

I like your hair - if you are ever in Baltimore give us a shout!


Anonymous said...

WOOOOeeeeee---the post is up!! And I'm not even ready for bed! Our weather is the same, but I have no rain gear as cute as the Goose's! And Annie with the bow--yippee! Did you take your own picture via a mirror?? Pretty nifty. Also--the hair looks great. Nothing is like getting your hair cut/colored, etc. Tell Justin to please get WELL. And give the girls lots of hugs and kisses. (We might even get sleet and a few snow flakes tomorrow--ugh). Peaceful rest to all of you--Love, Lee Lee

life with the wisners said...

homegirl, you look FABULOUS in your new sassy haircut. love it.

and look at your with your bit of gaussian blur on your solo pic. :) you're so cute.

and your self portrait of you and annie is awesome. and i love the blurriness of it. vintage? (no idea what i'm talking about.)

seriously, dude. you are NAILING this LR/PS/shutterspeed/aperture talk. i am so impressed with you.

and the drool photo? awesome.

i am so praying that your hubby gets better. SOON.

love to you guys.

Emily said...

sorry justin is still sick. the whole family suffers when one person is sick. i know how it goes. hope he feels better.
i love pic of annie in the window. special little shot there.

Mab said...

Ebeth and Em and I love looking at all the Lucy and Annie pics. :)
Thanks for sharing. And I love your new haircut!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

OMG. You are REALLY pretty.

Cinnamon said...

I think sleeping in is one of my favorite activities,lol. Your new dew looks good. That picture of Annie's drool is awesome!

Susan said...

Okay, I'm happy you're posting all the photography tips, because I need all the help I can get. It's especially great that you're posting them in an easy-to-read way. I don't need to be an expert, but it would help if I learned how to work my camera just a little.

I'm so very sorry to hear that Justin is still not well. He's had such a horrible time with this flu! I certainly hope he starts to feel better very soon. Hugs to all of you from Petunia and me.

MKH said...

great post! thanks for the run down on the photo editing. If I ever get the courage up to get into lightroom, I'll take some of those tips!
the pic of annie's drool is actually really cool!
love the hair-I'm on my way tomorrow and I'm sure my self esteem will come back up after some blond is back on my head! thanks again for all the photo tips!

Anonymous said...

Kell, You're hair looks great. I think you know where you get your natural photo smile. I love the drool pic. Love Dad

Anonymous said...

LOVE the new cut!

I loved today's photo advice. You know I think I'm also going to go through my pictures from each month when I pass into a new one. Every time I go through, I find more to trash.

Hope Justin feels better soon! Icky.

You have made me want LR so bad! I'm going to have to download the free trial again :P

Amber said...

love the new do kelly!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey! I just got a new cut and color too! Can't wait for you to see it! :) I AM PUMPED ABOUT SEEING EVERYONE SO SOON!! I'm sure I will have lots of great stories from my final Spring Break...

MWAH! hope poor Justin feels better :(

Anonymous said...


Kelly said...

Anon. saying I am really pretty is Mandy. She thinks she is soooooooooooo funny and likes to leave you all wondering what scary person is leaving creepy comments, but I am on to her. Don't worry.

Willis said...

You may have a natural fake smile, but the happiness that is within you really shines through every time I see a pic of you with your girls.

Ani said...

that is a great cut!

our little man was a drooler for the LONGEST time. i swear by the cart.ers bibs (they are clothlike but waterproof). not the cutest accessory, but his shirts were dry!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the photo advice. I was considering getting the D90, but now think I am going to hold out for your D700. I am usually pretty creative so would like to have more wiggle room as I 'hopefully' advance.
Also, thanks for the info about Lightroom... I just downloaded the 2.3. I have had a hard time learning to use PS Elements (perhaps from the toddler toddling beside me all the time) and have now found Lightroom much easier.

Anonymous said...

AH! Love the drool shot!! You're hair looks awesome, but I think an ugly floppy hat would good on you darlin' - you're absolutely gorgeous!

Thank you SO much for the laymans terms. It REALLY, REALLY, REALLY helps! For serious.

Anonymous said...

Kelly, I am thankful for your 365 project! Love following the girls and watching how they grow. Thanks for the photog tips too. I can only aspire to have your talent. Cute hair, BTW!

Anonymous said...

Thank your for your photography advice. It really does help a lot and I can't wait for more to come!I think I need to get Lightroom as well - sounds like a great software!

Your hair does look nice, and I love the picture of your and Annie. As I said before, you should do more of those for the girls, they will love those later on!

Marlo said...


I just adopted a little girl from Vietnam - we've been home for 2 weeks. Having trouble with feeding too - if you get a moment, wouldlove to ask a few questions...

my blog site


Marlo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Kelly for all the advice, looking forward to going through it in detail and trying to figure it all out!!! Have a great weekend.

Laura said...

I had trouble focusing on the rest of your post b/c I was turning green after the whole sleeping 'til 9 bit!!!! Seriously? Can you send you girls to my house so they can teach my guy about sleeping?!?! I thought I'd died and went to heaven when Mattix started sleeping until 6:30 or 7:00. I am NOT a morning person and do just terribly in the mornings and the 5:00 a.m.s were going to kill me. I still don't love 6:30 or 7:00, but hey, anything beats 5:00,right?!

Your hair looks great! I love getting my hair done. It makes me feel so much better.

Your girls are looking good. Annie is making tons of progress.

StaceyF said...

I LOVE the bow is Annie's hair!! You haircut looks fab too!

Dawn said...

LOVE the hair!!