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Best Spring Photos - Pretty Presets Photo Challenge

We are so excited to share these beautiful Spring photos with you from our PRETTY photo community. Thank you to everyone who submitted an image and congratulations to all the photographers featured below. We are so grateful to be surrounded by so many talented photographers.

Stay tuned for our next photo challenge. We will announce it in our Pretty Presets Community

We have listed our winner and 20+ honorable mentions below. Thank you so much for joining us and please come back soon for another photo challenge. We can't wait to share it with you!  Be sure to follow us on Instagram as well for other opportunities to be featured.

If one of your images was featured, please be sure to grab a Photo Challenge Favorite Badge at the bottom of this post, showcasing that you were featured on our website (great for marketing to your clients).

Sue, please email us at support@prettypresets.com with your mailing address for the special gift and let us know if you'd like your gift certificate for Pretty Presets or Pretty Actions. Thank you all for sharing your talent with us this past week. 

Winning Image from the Spring Photo Challenge  

"I love having Butterfly bushes! This beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail graced my bush, and I got to try out a new zoom lens I had just purchased. I loved how there just happened to be a spot of light coming through the bushes to show off the butterfly's detail." - Sue McCarley

Photographer: Captured by the talented Sue McCarley.

Edit: All-in-One Clean Edit preset from the Fan Faves Limited Edition (retired). 

Spring Images We Fell in Love with AND You Can be Inspired By!

Here are our other favorite Spring photos we absolutely loved from the PRETTY community! Enjoy these 20 photos as inspiration for your next Spring photo session. All of these gorgeous photos featured on this page were edited in Lightroom using Pretty Presets for Lightroom and/or Pretty Actions for Photoshop.

Captured by the talented Carol Omenson. Edited with South Beach preset from Light and Airy Millennium.

Captured by the talented Ashleigh Gray. Edited with Blackthorn preset from the Enchanted Garden Collection.

Captured by the talented Adanya Mattison.  Edited with Sugar Cookie preset from the Light and Airy Millennium Collection.

Captured by the talented Lisa Marie. Edited with Classic Clean preset from Bella Baby Complete Workflow.

Captured by the talented Seeka Marie Crouse. Edited with the Clean Edit Portrait Workflow

Captured by the talented Erin Ganley. Edited with Bomb Pop from the Pretty Presets Bomb Pop Collection.

Captured by the talented Jamie Amos.  Edited with Twilight B&W preset from the Pretty Film Bohemian Collection.

Captured by the talented Jaime Lynn Comer. Edited with Innocence preset from the Light and Airy Millennium Collection.  

Captured by the talented Nicole Jonutz. Edited with Serendipity preset from the Pretty Film Bohemian Collection.

Captured by the talented Toni Slack. Edited with Fresia preset from the Color Luxe Workflow Collection.

Captured by the talented Myranda Mondry. Edited with the Clean Edit Portrait Workflow.

Captured by the talented April Manning. Edited with Base 5 Vivid Bright Color preset from the Clean Edit Portrait Workflow.

Captured by the talented Tracy Mulholland-Miller. Edited with Classic Clean preset from the Bella Baby Newborn Collection and Sunrays (left) preset from the Illuminate Collection.

Captured by the talented Jasmine Meadows.  Edited with Aphrodite from Pretty Film Pastels.

Captured by the talented Debbie Maidment.  Edited with presets for the Clean and Creative Advanced Workflow and the Bella Baby Newborn Collection.

Captured by the talented Kelly-anne Gladwin. Edited with the Aphrodite preset from Pretty Film Pastels.

Captured by the talented Mickaela Peterson. Edited with the Daffodil preset from Enchanted Garden Collection.

Captured by the talented Cindy Graham. Edited with the Bejeweled V2 preset from a retired collection. 

Captured by the talented Justine Murray. Edited with A Quick Clean, Center Light, Contrast and the Chai preset from Pretty Film Bohemian.

Captured by the talented Jaime Lynn Comer. Edited with Innocence preset from the Light and Airy Millennium Collection.

Featured Images Receive a PRETTY Badge

If you were featured today, please feel free to grab a teal or pink badge (your choice!) below for your blog or website.  This is always a great way to showcase your talents to current and prospective clients.

To claim your Photo Challenge Winner Badge just follow the 3 steps below or you can just copy and paste the code below into your website or blog post.

1. Right-click on the badge above to copy or select "Save As" to save to your computer. If you're on a Mac, you can also click and drag it to your desktop. 
2. Then, upload it to your blog or website. 
3. Finally, link it directly back to this blog post with the following URL: https://www.lightroompresets.com/blogs/pretty-presets-blog/best-family-photos

Share the Teal Photo Challenge Winner Badge on Your Website!

<!----- Copy and Paste This Code Into Your Post ----></h3><a href="https://www.lightroompresets.com"><img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0163/6622/files/29214621_10213714475927527_8309915016497201152_o_medium.png?v=1521055636" alt="Pretty Presets Photo Challenge Favorite" width="285px" /></a><br><p><a href="https://www.lightroompresets.com/blogs/pretty-presets-blog/beautiful-spring-photos">Pretty Presets Photo Challenge Favorite</a></p>

 

Share the Pink Photo Challenge Winner Badge on Your Website!

<!----- Copy and Paste This Code Into Your Post ----><h3><a href="https://www.lightroompresets.com"><img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0163/6622/files/29186212_10213714475847525_8753185306783514624_o_medium.png?v=1521055626" alt="Pretty Presets Photo Challenge Favorite" width="285px" /></a><br><p><a href="https://www.lightroompresets.com/blogs/pretty-presets-blog/beautiful-spring-photos">Pretty Presets Photo Challenge Favorite</a></p>

 

Thank you all for joining us this week!  Be sure to come join our Pretty Presets Facebook Community.  We'd love to have you join us for our next photo challenge coming soon! 

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I recently traveled to Costa Rica to photograph a wedding, and I quickly realized that flying with all of my camera gear was a monumental undertaking.

Below are a few tips that made my travels go smoothly, and a few suggestions to into consideration before you travel with your camera gear. 

Packing Your Camera Equipment

This sounds like a no-brainer, but how you pack is one of the most important elements of traveling with your camera equipment.

If at all possible, try to get your most valuable equipment into your carry-on luggage, just to be on the safe side. Even if you have insurance, imagine how devastated you would be if you arrived at your destination and your equipment was gone because your checked baggage was lost. That would be a nightmare!

One issue with packing camera equipment in your carry-on is that some airlines strictly enforce a maximum carry-on weight. The airline I flew on this particular trip did not weigh my carry-on, but it can happen.

My suggestion would be to check with your airline beforehand to see if they have a weight limit. If they do not, try to keep your carry-on at a reasonable weight, and if you have any trouble, politely explain that you are transporting valuable equipment that the airlines are generally not liable for in a case of loss/damage.

There are plenty of great camera bags on the market that look like small, carry-on suitcases. They have sections and pockets that make it easy to get a lot of camera equipment into a small bag. 

Scheduling Your Seat and Flight

When booking your flight (if you are not flying first class or business class), try to get a seat toward the back of the plane. In most cases, economy boards back to front, so if you are one of the first to board, you will have plenty of space in the overhead compartment to put your camera bag (or bags).

When I flew to Costa Rica, my seat was in the front section of economy, but thankfully, I was flying with friends who boarded first, so they were able to get my camera bag on before the overhead bins filled up. Otherwise, I may have had some trouble.

If you are one of the last to board and the flight is completely full, your bag may not fit in the overhead bin. If that happens, your bag will likely be checked, which defeats the purpose of having your most valuable equipment in your carry-on luggage.

If you have a layover, make sure you have plenty of time to transport your gear to the next flight. While your camera bags may not seem heavy at first, after 30 minutes of walking with them, you are going to get tired. Trust me.

Just do your best to schedule flights so you’re not rushing through the airport with a lot of weight on your back. This will also give you a moment to grab a bite to eat. Staying energized is extremely important when traveling!

What Camera Gear Should I Bring?

If possible, take as much equipment as you can. Extra memory cards and batteries will add very little weight to your luggage and can be a life-saver. Also, if you are traveling to a foreign country, before you leave, check to see if you need a special adapter for their electrical outlets to charge your batteries.

In terms of equipment, I carry two DSLRs with me when I travel. I carry my main camera, and a backup camera, just in case something happens to my main.

Nothing terrible has ever happened, but I figure its better safe than sorry, especially when travelling to an important event such as a wedding. I also carry my lenses, iPad, and flash in my carry-on. Tripods and light stands go in my checked luggage. 

Traveling with Film

If you are traveling with film, check the TSA guidelines. Roll film, as long as its under ISO 800, is safe to put through the x-ray machines. If you are traveling with sheet film, or film that is ISO 800 or higher, you will need to have your film hand-inspected.

On my trip to Costa Rica, I had a disposable, underwater film camera with me. I thought the ISO was 400, but it was actually 800, so my film was completely destroyed after going through the x-rays.

Make sure to pack your film in your carry-on luggage. The x-rays used for checked luggage are more powerful than those used for carry-on, so its not a good idea to expose your film to checked luggage x-rays, even if the film's ISO is below 800. Here are the TSA guidelines for the film.

These are just a few of the many tips for traveling with photography equipment, but hopefully, they will steer you in the right direction before your next trip!

Do you have any questions or additional tips about Traveling with Camera Gear?  Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (We really appreciate it)!

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Photographer Spotlight - Rebecca Cook

Rebecca Cook is an exceptionally talented portrait photographer who often shares her amazing images in our Pretty Presets Facebook Group.  Rebecca always receives so many great questions about her work so we thought we'd ask her those questions and share her responses here today. 

All of the images on this page were edited with one of Rebecca's favorite presets "Innocence" from the Light and Airy Millennium Preset Collection for Lightroom Desktop and the Free Lightroom Mobile App.

1. Where did your inspiration for photography begin?

My inspiration started when I was about 13 years old. I've always loved nature, creatures and especially sunsets. I started taking "pictures" of all the things I thought were beautiful, when I was about that age.  But MY LOVE for photography and my biggest inspiration began after I gave birth to my daughter.

2. How would you describe your photography style?

My preferred photography style is dark, artsy, and a little bit out of the norm. I wish I could do that all the time, but the reality is my style varies.

I like to shoot and edit according to what my clients are like and what style they're into. I've really learned to be more open to different editing styles that best suit my client's needs and wishes.

Overall, I would say my style takes into account good contrastdepth of field and clarity.

3. Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?

I did not study photography in school or in college, but I did take a few online Photoshop courses. Everything else was researched and self-taught through trial and error.

4. Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?

I shoot strictly Canon. Truth be told, my favorite lens is my 85mm 1.8 prime lens. I can never stray too far away from that one - its truly is my FAVORITE. My second favorite is my 35 mm 1.4 prime lens.

5. Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find good natural light?

Finding great natural light can definitely be difficult. When I get to the location I want to use, I always test my lighting in-camera while shooting in live view to see where I need to move to get the best lighting for my images.

I love shooting at golden hour, when the sun is still peeking above the mountains just before sunset. I place my subjects directly in front of the sun (meaning the sun is directly behind them) to make them glow. I love looking for light flares too.

The best way to achieve this is shooting in live view. That way you can directly see exactly where to move to manipulate the light and flares to your liking.

6. What lessons have you have learned this year in photography or in your business?

The best lesson I've learned throughout my journey/experience is to simply be yourself. People will love you for who you are and connect with you on a much deeper level if you just be yourself. Love what you do, be passionate not competitive and your work will speak for itself!

7. If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
  1. First and foremost, learn to use your camera's manual settings.
  2. Enjoy the ride. Photography is a learning process, that never ceases to amaze me EVER. You can never know too much, so strive to keep learning and do your best.
  3. There may be times when you want to give up and not do this anymore. NEVER. GIVE. UP. Keep pushing through!

    8. What do you love most about being a photographer?

    The thing I truly love the most about photography are the many relationships I have built with my clients. I don't just like to take pictures, I also love to help people see the beauty within themselves. So when my clients love their images AND tell me that I made them feel beautiful, that is one of the things I love most!

    9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    I see myself still doing what I love most (photography), in the town that I love most. I have also set a goal to become a real estate agent.

    10. How has Pretty Presets helped you grow as a Photographer?

    I’ve been a Pretty Presets group member and preset user for over 4 years now, and in that time I have grown exponentially. Pretty Presets has not only given me the versatility that I had been looking for all along, but it also cut my workflow in half.

    My passion, my business, and my editing skills have all grown so much. And as much as I owe myself a pat on the back, I owe Pretty Presets a huge round of applause because without their presets and actions I’d still be stuck in a rut.

    If you’re new here, I promise you not only will Pretty Presets and Pretty Actions help your editing skills, it will help you find your own unique editing style. This entire community will make you feel like you’re family. Like you were meant to be here all along. We grow, and we learn from those who help us rise up along the way. And this is the place to be if you want the help you’ve needed all along. You are in the right spot. That in itself, I have to admit has been truly a blessing, and I can’t say it enough. I’m eternally grateful for everything Pretty Presets has done for me!

    Do you have any questions or comments for Rebecca Cook?  Leave her a comment below - she would love to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (We really appreciate it)

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    Image captured by Kristin Michelle Photostories and edited with Aphrodite from Pretty Film Pastels.

    Framing in Photography for Better Composition

    As photographers, we tend to primarily focus on the subject of our image. That makes perfect sense, right?

    It’s so easy to discount the other elements in the scene because our attention is on the person, wildlife, flower, etc. We utilize rules of composition, shallow depth of field and sometimes a minimal backdrop, all in order to ensure that nothing distracts from the main subject.

    But what if, instead of distracting from the subject in the image, the natural scenic elements had a purpose and could actually ENHANCE the focus of the subject?

    That is what scenic framing is all about!

    What is Framing in Photography?

    “Framing” in photography is often used quite broadly. Photographers will say things like, “Frame your shot,” when what they actually mean is, “Compose your shot.”

    In street photography, you might hear, “Click the shutter when the subject enters the frame,” as an instruction to keep the shot composed and be prepared for the decisive moment when a person walks into the scene.

    Today, however, I am going to focus on scenic framing which falls in the composition category. When I refer to scenic framing, what I mean is using elements from your surroundings (or scene) to LITERALLY FRAME YOUR SUBJECT. You can use foreground, background and/or elements that are on the same focal plane as your subject to frame them.

    Benefits of Framing Your Subject

    Some of the benefits of framing include:

    1. Drawing the viewer's eye towards your main focal point.

    2. Adding a sense of depth to your image by using foreground and/or background framing to add an additional dimension.

    3. Adding context or story to your photo using framing elements that add the story you wish to tell.

    When used properly, you can ceate some truly beautiful and egaging photos. You may even start framing your images this way without even thinking about it because it’s that visually appealing!

    How to Frame an Image?

    There are so many ways to naturally frame you subject. More ways than I can possibly ever list. And there certainly is no limit to the creativity you can employ as you practice this framing technique.

    To get your creative juices flowing, here are 4 readily available, real world framing ideas:

    1. Doorways & Windows

    Doorways and windows are everywhere (houses, cars, businesses, etc.) and require no special equipment, props or pre-planning to take advantage of. Simply ensure that your subject is WITHIN the door or window frame and click away!

    It's always interesting to play around with distance and scale (placing your subject further or closer to the camera while still keeping them WITHIN the door or window frame) to vary the effect.

    Doorways and windows are a great place to start practicing your photography framing because it doesn’t get any more simple than this!

    2. Nature

    I love using elements in nature like foliage, trees, branches or even flower blossoms to frame my subject. Not only are these elemens relatively easy to find, they can give an image a natural, bohemian vibe and add a lovely pop of color as well.

    Here is a very helpful video demonstrating framing using natural elements on a live photoshoot

    Framing and Shooting Through Branches - YouTube

    3. Fabric

    Curtains and clothing are a beautiful, soft way to frame your subject. It’s also easy to experiment with framing this way by purchasing some inexpensive fabric from your local craft store and hanging it wherever you wish.

    Try draping the fabric from branches or over the back of a couple of chairs to frame your subject sitting in between. Or wrap it around your subject’s head with only their face exposed.

    4. Playground Equipment

    If you photograph children or families, this is a great way to frame little ones and one of my personal favorites!

    The children will be having so much fun, they often won’t even notice you taking photos. This will allow you to capture some great candid expressions that really document their personality.

    Most playgrounds are full of all sorts of interesting shapes and colors and if you find a good vantage point and practice patience, it’s only a matter of time before you get the shot you’re after.

    Using scenic elements to frame your subject is an exercise in observation because everything you need to frame your images is already there. You just have to be more aware of your surroundings, then look around and find them.

    Play around with different shapes, textures, colors, patterns, and even perspectives. You will get a completely different look every time!

    Do you have any questions or comments about Framing Photos Using Scenic Elements? Leave me a comment below - I would love to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (We really appreciate it)!

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    Its really dificult two read thru a post that the awthur hasnt korrected. Its like their knot even tryng!

    That sentence was painful to write, much less read. My retinas hurt!

    How to Make a Great First Impression with Photography Clients

    Today I want to talk to you about the importance of having a STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE in all areas or your photography business. This includes:

    • Your Photos
    • Your Blog Posts
    • Your Business Website,
    • Your Instagram and Facebook Pages
    • ANYWHERE you have a public space for marketing your photography services or products.

    We live in an age of shortcuts and textese. And, as a business person I understand time is money. Yes, most of us want to capitalize on every minute, saving time wherever we can. However, excellent content and format is NOT the place to cut corners.

    I can’t tell you how many photography websites I have visited once and NEVER returned to because of poor editing, both in photos and written content.

    Your website, blog, Instagram and Facebook pages are an extension of yourself, your work and the first representation you give of yourself to potential clients and others. Do you really want to give the impression that you are sloppy because you can't take the time to thoroughly edit your content? Most visitors will think, sloppy content equals sloppy photography work and will never hire you.

    Here are 4 tips to help make a GREAT first impression to potential photography clients and show them you have an excellent product and service:

    Tip #1. Edit, Edit, Edit

    Thoroughly edit your work before you publish it. If you are not a good editor of content, find someone who is and have them review your content for you. I’m the editor for a large website that has over 20 contributing authors. Their job is to write well, my job is to make sure it’s perfect. Do your work well and then, if needed, find someone to make it PERFECT.

    Tip #2. Post Your Best Photos

    To give a great first impression, only post your best-of-the-best photos and create good content to go with it. Unless you’re specifically showcasing the improvement you have made in your photography career, or something similar, leave the duds for the closet. Or the kindling.

    Tip #3. Create Interesting Content

    Don’t try to be someone you’re not, but do try to post photos and content that others will find interesting. Do you have a great technique to capture backlight or really know how to coax a smile out of the most stubborn photography subjects? Do share!

    Do you have a thousand photos that you shot of your adorable kid? A personal family album might be more well-suited.

    Tip #4. Never Stop Learning, Growing, and Challenging Yourself

    As a writer who has written for a long time, I have never stopped challenging myself to learn new words, explore new ideas, create original content when it seems the well has run dry, push the boundaries, and learn, learn, learn.

    As a photographer, there is no end to the skill and experience that you can add to your growing tool belt. If you’re in a rut, challenge yourself to excel in a new facet of photography, or excel afresh in an old one.

    Make sure that whatever you do, you DO IT WITH EXCELLENCE; excellence in skill, business, quality, marketing, and content. And never stop growing, learning, and improving!

    Do you have any questions or comments about Making a Great First Impression?  Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you!  And please share our tutorial using the social sharing buttons - we really appreciate it!

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    How to Get Beautiful Skin Tones in Lightroom (Every Time!)

    Beautiful skin tones are something we ALL want to achieve in our images.  They are especially important when shooting weddings and portraits!

    In Lightroom, perfect skin tones are quite achievable, but definitely takes some know-how and practice.  By following the steps below, you can have picture perfect skin in every photo you shoot quickly and easily!

    Step 1. Check the Skin Color Balance

    You can't fix something if you don't know what needs to be fixed. By checking the color balance you can see what the particular needs of the image are and then take steps to correct them.

    To check the color balance of your skin tones in Lightroom, go to the Develop Module and hover your mouse over a medium tone area of your subject's skin. RGB number values will appear in your histogram area on the right. These RGB values will help you analyze your skin tones.

    RGB Rule of Thumb for Beautiful Skin Tones:

    • The blue % value should be the lowest value. 
    • The green % value should be higher than the blue value by at least one percentage point. 
    • The red % value should be the highest value and at least two percentage points over the green. 

    Now that you know the RGB values of your skin tones and what the optimum values are, you will know what color needs to be corrected on your particular image!

    Note: One question you might be asking is why the RGB values are higher in some images and lower in others? Answer: The higher the percentage values, the brighter the skin tones are. The lower the percentage values, the darker the skin tones are.

    Step 2. Adjust the Exposure and White Balance

    If your image or skin tones need an exposure or white balance correction, it is important to do that before we start making changes to the color values of the skin tones.

    A really easy way to adjust the image exposure is to use the Exposure slider in Lightroom's Basic Panel. You may also want to adjust the Highlights and Shadow sliders as well since those can also impact the exposure of your image.

    To adjust White Balance, click the White Balance Dropper in the upper-left of the Basic Panel. Then click over a medium-gray tone in your image - good options for this are the whites of the eyes or any element of your image that is gray (i.e. cement, clothing, etc.) 

    You can also adjust the Temperature and Tint sliders, however this will require you to visualize what colors in your white balance need adjusting. 

    Ask yourself: Should the image be warmer or cooler? Is the image too red or green?  

    In general, moving any of these sliders to the right will cause whichever value you are adjusting to brighten or increase. For example, if you are moving the Exposure slider to the right, the overall exposure of your image will brighten (increase). If you are moving the Shadows slider to the right, the shadow areas of your image will brighten.

    Step 3. Adjust Skin Tones Using the Tone Curve Panel (Option 1)

    Quickly check your skin tone values one more time to determine which color value needs to increase or decrease. Then open the Tone Curve Panel. You will see a tone curve appear. This panel seems less straight-forward to many but it is POWERFUL when it comes to skin tones!

    Change the "Channel" to whichever value you feel need to be adjusted. (Tip: If you don't see the option to change your channel, tap the square in the lower-right corner with a diagonal line through it).

    Is your blue value too high? Open the blue curve. Click on the Targeted Adjustment Tool to activate it. Move over to the skin tones in your image and click and drag DOWN to decrease the amount of blue in the skin tones. 

    You will probably only need to make small adjustments, so don't overdo how much you drag downward (or upward).

    You may need to adjust more than one curve. For instance, after decreasing the blue in the skin tones using the blue curve, you may also need to increase the warmth a bit using the red curve. And If your photo includes a lot of green trees or grass, you may need to make some adjustments to the green channel as well.

    I find that I use the red and blue curves the most.

    3. Adjust Skin Tones Using Luminance & Saturation (Option 2)

    Another option for adjusting your skin tones is to use the Luminance section of the HSL Panel. The Luminance sliders adjust the brightness or darkness of colors in Lightroom.

    To correct skin tones this way, select the targeted adjustment tool in this panel and click and drag UPWARD over the skin tones to brighten those tones. More specifically, click and drag upward over areas where you are noticing troubling tones.

    If a specific tone is troubling, you can also switch to the Saturation section of the HSL panel and use the same Targeted Adjustment tool and click and drag down over an area with that tone in it. This will decrease the saturation of that tone.

    Of course, you can also manually adjust these sliders, but I do think you will appreciate how precise the Targeted Adjustment tool is.

    Step 4. Clone and Heal

    This is a very important step to beautiful skin.  During this step, you should clone out any blemishes and dark spots. On more mature skin, you may even clone out a few wrinkles and adjust the opacity of the clone tool to help it look natural.

    Tips for using the Clone/Heal tool: 

    • Set the size so that the smaller inner circle of the brush is just slightly larger than the blemish to be removed.
    • For smaller skin blemishes, generally the Heal tool is the best option.  
    • For larger skin blemishes or blemishes close to the edge of the face, it may be best to use to the Clone tool.

    Remember that the goal is natural and beautiful skin tone. So don't go overboard and over edit every wrinkle and pore on your subject's face.

    Step 5. Portrait Brushes and Presets

    Why not make your life easier and save A LOT of time editing?

    The portrait brushes in the Perfect Portrait: Retouch and Makeup Brushes as well as the portrait brushes included in the Clean Edit Portrait Workflow are both wonderful options for creating perfect, creamy skin tones. 

    In addition to brushes to help achieve perfect skin tones, they also Include brushes for smoothing skin, whitening eyes and teeth, adding clarity, and reducing color casts and much more!

    This is also the time to use your favorite Pretty Presets in order to give your portraits your signature look and feel. Once you've added your preset, you may find you need to make some slight slider adjustments in order to achieve the perfect look. 

    When you finish your edit, take advantage of one Lightroom's important features to SYNC the edits to all images in a sequence that have similar light and white balance. Important Note: Brush edits should not be synced to other images - those edits are very image specific and should only be applied to images individually.

    Do you have any questions or comments about How to Correct Lightroom Skin Tones?  Leave us a comment below - We would love to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (We really appreciate it)!

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    Sometimes when taking a photograph, your subjects eyes can end up looking too shadowed, possibly because there wasn't enough reflective surface bouncing light back on his or her face. Or, perhaps the overall image wasn't exposed well enough, which can make their eyes even darker!

    How to Brighten Shadowed Eyes

    The best way to brighten shadowed eyes is in-camera, by:

    • Slowing down the shutter speed.
    • Increasing the ISO.
    • Opening up the aperture more.
    • Using a reflector or something white in front of the subject can also help by reflecting light back onto your subject. 

    Once your image is taken, though, if the eyes are still too dark you will have to fix them in post processing to make them look better.

    How to Fix Shadowed Eyes in Lightroom

    In this tutorial, I will show you how to brighten shadowed eyes in Lightroom using this example image that is a bit underexposed and the eye area is quite shadowed. 

    Here is the before image:

    Step 1. Make Global Adjustments

    I usually start my edits by making any needed global adjustments. Changes made via any of the panels on the right-hand side of the Develop module are considered "global" changes because they affect the entire image, not just part of it.

    For this example image, I bumped up the overall exposure in the Basic Panel to +.55, and moved the Shadows Slider to the positive side, around +15.

    After making global adjustments, you will likely want to make some small, specific changes to your image, and for that you will have to use:

    After making my global adjustments, I now want to use some Lightroom adjustment brushes. To do this, just click on the brush (below the histogram) to use them.

    Step 2. Brighten Area Around the Eyes

    The image below shows the brush settings I used to lighten her upper and lower lids. Doing this will not only make her eye area lighter, but will also make her appear more alert and awake (see before/after image further down). This is the same reason many women use a light concealer below their eyes.

    Many Lightroom users brighten the whites of the eyes, the pupil and the iris, but forget about the area surrounding the eye. Personally, I prefer starting with the area around the eyes and then move inward to the eye itself.

    Step 3. Brightening the Eyes

    After editing the area around her eyes, I brightened the iris and pupil of her eyes (image below). While I was at it, I added in a bit of sharpening to make them look crisp.

    Step 4. Remember "Make Small Changes" to Avoid Over Editing

    "Less is more" is a good rule of thumb when editing. Its incredibly easy to over edit eyes. You may think an over edited eyes look amazing and beautiful, but that often comes with a cost - the eyes no longer look real or believable.

    Before and After Image

    Here is a before/after comparison of my edit.

    After brightening her eye area, I also smoothed her skin using the awesome Skin Smoothing brush from the Pretty Presets Perfect Portrait Brush Collection.

    Final edited image:

    Bonus Tip: Understanding Flow and Density

    If you are having difficulty seeing any changes when you are using your Lightroom adjustment brushes you either need to increase the sliders, or you need to check your flow and density sliders. If these sliders are too low, you won't see the effects of your changes. 

    You can read more about flow and density by clicking over to a tutorial I wrote specifically about brush flow and density.

    Below is a screen shot showing where to click to open the brush menu (pink), where to click to access custom brushes (yellow), and where to look for the flow and density sliders (green).

    Using Custom Brushes from Pretty Presets

    The screen shots I shared for this tutorial show some of the brush settings I used to edit this particular image. Normally I don't waste time tweaking the brush settings. I almost always use the fantastic custom brushes that come with the Pretty Presets Perfect Portrait Brush Collection

    This awesome collection contains 40 brushes that can be used for portrait editing as well as still-life or landscape photography and comes with 10 brushes that are specific to the eye area alone!

    Want More Help Editing Portraits?

    If you missed our previous three portrait editing tutorials check them out now! They build on the basic but necessary and important things you need to know when editing portraits and using brushes in Lightroom:

    If you would like additional training for our Lightroom Portrait Brushes we have a fantastic, in-depth Lightroom Portrait Brush Training Video you can watch right here.

    Do you have any questions or comments about How to Brighten Shadowed in LightroomJust leave us a comment below - and PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)! 

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    How to Create a Photography Website

    If you’re just starting with a new photography business, creating a great website is a MUST for anyone serious about bringing in business and attracting new customers. A website is not only your virtual storefront, it will also include important information and images that will be a key deciding factor for a progressively digital world of potential customers to hire you.

    Your website is not just a great way to get leads. Its also one of the cheapest ways to market your photography business and is very easily edited when you want to refresh your content and/or portfolio.

    So what do you need to include in your photography website to ensure its professional and brings in LOTS OF BUSINESS?

    Here are 6 Simple Steps to Create Your Photography Website: 1. Set Up Your Domain Name and Hosting

    This is essential and is the virtual address for your photography business. Choose a domain that is not only simple for potential clients to remember and spell, but also works well to showcase your business. Be aware,  if you are looking for a dot.com domain you might need to be a little more creative or look for alternative domain options such as .co or .net.

    Your hosting can also be set up using simple and affordable online hosting companies such as SiteGround or any other online hosting group that is cost effective and reliable.

    In this step, you can also run a keyword search in Google Keyword Planner to find suitable keywords for your photography business and figure out which words rank higher than others. When you write the text for your website, make sure to include those relevant keywords.

    2. Choose Your Website Program

    Once you have your domain and hosting sorted, it’s time to choose the type of website you are going to create, and the options are all based on your budget.

    If you’re looking to avoid expensive outsourcing of your website and create something that is professional without the hefty price tag, look at options such as Wordpress, Wix or Squarespace. Each of the sites have great themes available for photography businesses which can be easily tweaked to suit your needs.

    If money and cost are no object, you can get a beautiful, custom made website for around $3000 or more. While you can fully customize your site this way, if you are just starting out, your marketing budget can probably be better used elsewhere.

    3. Choose a Theme

    Now is the time to choose your theme and make your website look professional. There are plenty of great themes available that you can purchase rather than creating your site from the ground up. The theme includes the design and visuals that allow you to have a pre-determined look and feel but can be tweaked to suit your branding and photography business.

    4. Add Imagery and Content to Your Website

    Next, you need to flesh out the content for your website and add information about your services and portfolio. These pages should be mandatory on your photography website:

    • Home Page
    • About Us
    • Services
    • Blog
    • Portfolio
    • Contact Us

    You can also include a Shop page if you have an e-commerce store or have a payment gateway. If you are a great writer, you can write your own content or consider hiring a freelance copywriter to help you craft the copy to ensure it includes a great CALL TO ACTION that sets your business apart from the competition.

    5. Ensure You Include Keywords Throughout & Describe the Areas You Service 

    Once you have set up your content and imagery it’s time to add your meta descriptions, title tags and run a quick check to ensure you have the right keywords included within the text on your website.

    You should also make sure to clearly outline the locations, including cities and suburbs to which you will provide service so that your website shows up when individuals are searching for photography services in those areas.

    6. Make Sure Your Contact Details are Correct and Clear

    Many people forget to do this, but make sure to proofread your website and ensure that your contact details are crystal clear and easy to understand.  This is essential.  Do you want people to contact you via email, phone or an online form?  Make sure this information is extremely clear and test that everything is working properly. Send your website to friends and ask them for their feedback too.

    In Closing...

    Your photography website will continue to evolve and grow over time, however, these are the essential elements that you need to be aware of and complete during the set up phase. Also, make sure to include a portfolio of your best photos so your target audience feel compelled to book with you and lots of photography work heads your way.

    Do you have any questions or comments about Creating a Photography Website?  Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you!  And please share our tutorial using the social sharing buttons - we really appreciate it!

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    Should You Shoot in RAW + JPEG?

    Before I discuss the best ways to handle RAW+JPEG files in Lightroom, let's go over some RAW+JPEG basics.

    All cameras come with the ability to shoot and store a RAW file AND a JPEG file at the exact same time. The question is, when and why should you use this feature?

    The simple answer is almost never.  Let me explain:

    When I first started shooting RAW files, I chose to shoot RAW + JPEG because I was not comfortable shooting only in RAW. So, in essence, the JPEG's were my backup plan.

    But it didn't take me very long to realize how much better I was able to process and fix my RAW image files vs. my JPEG versions in Lightroom. And as a new photographer, I was making a lot of mistakes.

    The problem was that by shooting RAW+JPEG, I now had twice as many image files being added to and taking up space on my hard drive. It also got pretty darn confusing trying to figure out which version of the files I had actally developed. So I quickly made the decision to shoot RAW only.

    When to Shoot in RAW+JPEG

    In my opinion, most people should pick a single file format (RAW or JPEG) and stick with it. However, there are a  few instances when you may want to shoot both: 

    1. Photography Beginners

    If you are justing starting out in digital photography, you may feel more comfortable having both RAW and JPEG options at first. I know I did as a beginner. If this is you, go ahead and use both, but be aware of the confusion this may cause and at some point you should choose one or the other and stick with it.

    2. Wedding Photographers

    Some wedding photographers like to shoot RAW+JPEG in order to show a client a slideshow of some of their wedding images at the reception and still have the ability to process the RAW file versions for use in albums and prints.

    With very little time to develop photos between a ceremony and the reception, JPEG files are the best-looking and quickest option to make the slideshow happen quickly. So shooting in RAW + JPEG in this case, makes perfect sense.

    There may also be other cases where shooting both is warranted, but those situations are few and far between.

    How to Handle RAW + JPEG in Lightroom

    If you decide that shooting RAW + JPEG is right for you and your situation, just be aware that you are going to have LOTS of images to deal with. The good news is that Lightroom CAN handle the duplicate files for you.

    There are a couple different options you can use in Lightroom to effectively import and manage your RAW and JPEG files. Try them out to see which one works best for you!

    Option #1. Import ALL Photos, but Only See RAW Photos in Lightroom

    To do this, go to the general Lightroom preferences menu and make sure the box labeled "treat JPEG files next to RAW files as separate photos" is unchecked. If you don't know where to find this menu, go to Edit>Preferences on a PC or Lightroom>Preferences on a Mac. Make sure the “General” tab is selected.

    Unchecking this box will ensure that Lightroom imports ALL of your photos, but will only show you the RAW files in Lightroom and will treat the JPEG file as "attached" to the RAW version, so if you move and/or delete the RAW file, you will also move and/or delete the JPEG file.

    Option #2. Import ALL Photos and See ALL Photos in Lightroom

    To choose this option go to the general Lightroom preferences menu and make sure the box labeled "treat JPEG files next to RAW files as separate photos" is "checked".

    By checking this box, you will ensure that Lightroom imports both files AND shows you both RAW and JPEG files in Lightroom. Upon import, both versions will be in the same folder, but I would recommend sorting them into two different folders.

    Sorting the files is pretty easy to do using the Filter Bar in the Library Module. To sort out the JPEG's, create a new folder within your folder, select all the JPEG's and drag them into the new folder.

    Option #3. Use Lightroom’s Stacking Feature to Manage Duplicates

    Lightroom has a feature that allows you to stack photos together based on capture time. Since both the RAW file and the JPEG file will have been captured at the exact same time, it is easy to force them together in a stack.

    Both the RAW and the JPEG will still be in the same folder just like when you imported them, however, the RAW and its JPEG will be stacked together. You will be able to choose to see both at any time and you can also choose which photo is on the top of the stack.

    To do this, go to Photo drop down menu and hover over “stacking.”  From the new menu, choose “Auto-Stack by Capture Time.”  In the box that opens up make sure the slider is set to 0:00:00.

    To choose which file to have on top, once again go to Photo drop down menu and hover over “stacking.” This will open a list of stacking options to choose from.

    Keep in mind, a potential problem can occur with this method if you take LOTS of photos in quick succession. Its possible to end up with more than one RAW and JPEG photo stacked together if you took more than one photo in the same second (for example: burst shooting, etc).

    Do you have any questions or comments about Shooting & Managing RAW+JPEG in Lightroom?  Leave us a comment below - We would love to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (We really appreciate it)!

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    Pretty Presets for Lightroom by Pretty Presets - 1M ago

    RAW vs JPEG

    A common question that many photographers have is "what is the difference between shooting RAW and shooting JPEG". It's a common misconception that the only benefit of shooting RAW is the ability to "rescue" an image. This, however, is just the beginning. There are several interesting benefits to shooting RAW that are less known, as described below.

    Understanding the Differences Between RAW and JPEG Files

    To understand this concept, it is helpful to understand both RAW and JPEG files themselves.

    • A RAW file is a file containing all of the information recorded by your camera's sensor during exposure. There is no compression or processing applied to the file by the camera.
    • In contrast, a JPEG file is a file that has been compressed by your camera, and does not contain all of the information recorded by your camera's sensor during exposure. Rather, your camera has chosen certain information to discard.

    Now, as many photographers may already know, the information contained in RAW files grants the ability to easily correct under or overexposed images without a drastic loss in quality, adjust white balance, and achieve greater levels of details and sharpness in post processing than is feasible when using JPEG files, as explained below:

    Exposure: RAW vs. JPEG

    When using a JPEG file, information in the brightest and darkest areas of your image has been lost and in a case of under or overexposure, the detail in these areas is not recoverable. This is not the case with RAW files and many issues can be easily corrected. While it is ideal to achieve the best image in camera, there is a likely a time when every photographer will take an under or overexposed image.

    White Balance: RAW vs. JPEG

    The white balance of RAW files is easily adjusted. This not only allows for the correction of an undesirable white balance, but also allows for a multitude of creative options in post processing. In contrast, a JPEG file has a set white balance, and is difficult to adjust. This means less control over the colors seen in your image.

    Brightness: RAW vs JPEG

    Another benefit worth considering is the wide range of artistic freedom RAW files grant to the photographer. Consider this: A JPEG file records less than 300 levels of brightness. A RAW file, on the other hand, has the capacity to record anywhere from 4000 to over a whopping 16,000 levels of brightness!

    The levels of brightness recorded have a direct effect on the adjustments you will or will not be able to make in post processing. The multitude of brightness levels recorded in a RAW file grant creative control to the photographer, namely you or me! For instance, because my images are bold, colorful and creatively edited, shooting in RAW is very important to my workflow.

    Contrast: RAW vs. JPEG

    RAW files come out of the camera with less contrast and saturation than the image you see on your camera viewscreen. When are using RAW, your camera manufacturer assumes that you will be developing this photo with software, like Lightroom or Photoshop, and it leaves the developing to you.

    On the other hand JPEG files come out with the same saturation and contrast as you saw on the back of your camera. This file type works great for those who like to print or display their shots straight from the camera with no post processing.

    Sharpness: RAW vs. JPEG

    Another noted feature of a JPEG file is the appearance of sharpness. While JPEG files appear sharper than RAW files, this is not necessarily the case.

    The sharpness seen in a JPEG file is the result of your camera's processing system. The processing systems available for a computer are far more advanced than the system your camera is utilizing. The greatest detail and sharpness will be achieved by processing RAW files using software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

    Destructive vs. Non-Destructive Editing

    Finally, one of the greatest benefits of shooting in RAW format is the ability to edit non-destructively. When processing a RAW file, the original file is not directly affected. Essentially, the RAW file you are editing is a reference file, with the edit being a set of directions that will be applied upon export of your image.

    When processing a JPEG file, you will experience a loss of quality during the process. This loss of quality occurs each time a JPEG file is opened, edited, or saved.

    File Size: RAW vs. JPEG

    As I mentioned previously, RAW files contain much more camera sensor information that JPEG files, so naturally a RAW files are significantly larger than JPEG files. You will need to keep this in mind when you are considering your storage requirements.

    Is shooting in RAW format right for you? Only you can say what works best for you and your workflow, but this information is well worth considering and hopefully, answers a few of your questions concerning RAW and JPEG files.

    Do you have any questions or comments about RAW vs JPEG?  Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you!  And please share our tutorial using the social sharing buttons - we really appreciate it!

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