How To Capture and Edit an Indoor Photo In Direct Light

How To Capture and Edit an Indoor Photo In Direct Light

Disclaimer: This contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend tools and resources I use and love!

Ever wish you could get a peek behind the lens of another photographer and watch them work?

Here’s your chance!  In this “How To Capture And Edit” series I provide a look into my shooting and editing process behind a particular image and share helpful how-to’s.

Shot with Canon 5D III and 35 mm 1.4 lens. Camera Settings: ISO 1250, f/3.5, SS 1/640

My husband arrived home from work in the early evening and my daughter ran to him and jumped into his arms for a hug.

{Heart Melts}

I raced for my camera.

The overhead lights were off and I noticed how my husband and daughter were standing in a pocket of bright light shining in from the window.

I knew if I set my camera to expose for the bright, direct light shining in on them from the window the rest of the scene would be rendered darker, putting them in the “spotlight.”

If you don’t understand the term “expose” check out this post: How To Use Your DSLR Camera.

Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) photo: 

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Editing Tips

I edited this image 100% in Lightroom, It needed a bit of work to bring it in line with the “spotlight” vision I had in mind when I shot the image.

Lightroom is the perfect photo editing program for beginners.  It allows you to make simple adjustments to your photos that make a HUGE difference in your images without breaking the bank.

Check out the editing video below:

How To Capture and Edit a Beach Silhouette

How To Capture and Edit a Beach Silhouette

Disclaimer: This contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend tools and resources I use and love!

Ever wish you could get a peek behind the lens of another photographer and watch them work?

Here’s your chance!  In this “How To Capture And Edit” series I provide a look into my shooting and editing process behind a particular image and share helpful how-to’s.

Shot with Canon 5D III and 35 mm 1.4 lens. Camera Settings: ISO 200, f/16, SS 1/320

When I saw this log on the beach my heart beat a little faster because I knew it would make the perfect location for a great silhouette shot.

The sky behind the log was unobstructed by trees or buildings, and placing my subject on the log would separate him from the ground and allow me to capture the outline of his entire body.

As the sun sank toward the horizon I got down low on the sand on my stomach (yes, I got dirty!).  I raised myself slightly so that just a bit of the sun was peeking out above the log.

I set my exposure for the sky so my subject would be thrown into shadow and I chose a narrow aperture of f/16 in order to give the sun a starburst effect.

(If you don’t understand the term exposure this page may help: How To Use Your DSLR Camera).

Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) photo: 

Oops, a little crooked!  Happens all the time.  Thankfully that’s an easy fix with the crop tool in Lightroom.

Here’s how I cropped it:

I used the Rule of Thirds grid and cropped it so that my photo was comprised of 1/3 land and 2/3 sky, and placed my subject along the right third of the image.

He was walking so I made sure there was space in front of him in the direction he was heading. 

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Editing Tips

The edit on this photo was simple, done 100% in Lightroom.  Check out the video below for a walkthrough of this simple edit.  Lightroom is the perfect photo editing program for beginners.  It allows you to make simple adjustments to your photos that make a HUGE difference!

Do Photography Terms Feel Confusing and Overwhelming To You?  If So, Don’t Miss This: 

How I Got The Shot

How I Got The Shot

Disclaimer: This contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend tools and resources I use and love!

Ever wish you could get a peek behind the lens of another photographer and watch them work?

That’s how I feel when I see a photo I admire.

In my “How I Got The Shot” series I provide a look into my thought process behind a particular image and share helpful tips for shooting and editing.

Shot with Canon 5D III and 35 mm 1.4 lens. Camera Settings: ISO 1600, f/3.2, SS 1/500

9 times out of 10 it’s the light that motivates me to grab my DSLR to capture a moment.  Well, the light plus someone I love.

I saw the light from the window behind my daughter, but I also saw the shadows to the right of her and thought I’d be able to use the shadows and the reflection on the floor to frame her and lead the eye toward her. 

I set my exposure on my daughter but slightly underexposed the photo on purpose because I knew the highlights from the window were going to be very bright.  I also hoped underexposing would give me darker shadow areas. 

I got down low in order to capture the floor and the reflection as part of the shot.  This helps draw the eye toward her. 

Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) photo: 

I shot it a wee bit crooked so I straightened it with a crop.  I cropped out the chair on the left in order to remove distractions and bring the focus in on the subject.  I also placed the subject along the rule of thirds line.

Editing Tips

The overall temperature of the image was too warm, so I lowered the temperature slider.

One factor when I’m shooting in this room of my home is the color of the walls.  When I repaint I’m going to tone down the yellow!

Color casts from walls are a common challenge, but there are ways to counteract that problem in Lightroom.  My first step in dealing with that was to lower the overall temperature.

I also lowered the highlights slider because I felt the brightness of the light coming in from the window was distracting.

Because I shot the image at ISO 1600 I had some noise in the shadow areas and on my subject so I raised the Luminance slider under the Detail panel to 15.

As you can see in the SOOC image, the shadow areas weren’t anywhere near as dark as I wanted them to be (and there was a roll of fabric leaning against the door!), so I used th graduated filter in Lightroom to bring the shadows and the exposure down in those darker areas of the image.

I then took the image into Photoshop to make a few final adjustments:

I used a Color Balance adjustment layer to pull more yellow out of the image.  I brushed that layer onto the white areas of the walls to make the whites look more white.

I also used the Color Balance adjustment layer to cool my subject (she was a little yellow, too).

Back in Lightroom, I used a radial filter to raise the exposure and contrast on my subject just a bit.  And I was done!

The vision in my mind’s eye was brought to life through the power of Lightroom and a little Photoshop!

If you’re a visual learner, you can watch me edit some of my favorite images HERE.

How To Capture and Edit a Lifestyle Photo

How To Capture and Edit a Lifestyle Photo

Disclaimer: This contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend tools and resources I use and love!

Ever wish you could get a peek behind the lens of another photographer and watch them work?

Here’s your chance!  In this “How To Capture And Edit” series I provide a look into my shooting and editing process behind a particular image and share helpful how-to’s.

Shot with Canon 5D III and 35 mm 1.4 lens. Camera Settings: ISO 125, f/3.2, SS 1/250

I took this photo at a local frozen yogurt shop.  We were there close to sunset and my daughter was standing in direct light from the sun while serving herself some froyo.

I love to shoot with my subject in a pocket of direct light – meaning that the light isn’t diffused or reflected off of anything else, but shines directly from the light source (in this case, the sun) onto the subject.

This light is considered harsh, and wouldn’t be as flattering if the subject were facing the camera, but in this case, it works well because she’s facing away.

It creates a “spotlight effect” on her while the rest of the scene falls into shadow, drawing attention to her and away from other parts of the scene that might be distracting.

I took the shot in manual mode and set my exposure using a bright area of my daughter’s skin.  If you need help understanding how to set your exposure in manual mode, see How To Use Your DSLR Camera.

After I set my exposure I toggled my focal point to compose the photo. 

Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) photo: 

Editing Tips

I altered the crop to place my subject along the rule of thirds line, meaning that she is roughly in the right third of the frame.  This composition is more interesting than how the image was shot with the subject in the middle of the frame.

Also, I was bothered by the trash can in the foreground and wanted to crop out as much of it as possible.

Don’t miss the full editing video at the end of the post to see a demonstration of the editing steps below:

In Lightroom I adjusted the photo’s temperature by sliding the temperature slider toward blue.  This neutralized the warmth of the sunlight.

A few other adjustments I made:

I lowered the shadows globally to enhance them.

I used graduated filters to lower the exposure on the shadowy areas on the left and the right lower corner to enhance the shadows and minimize the trashcan.

I used a radial filter on my daughter to raise exposure and bring her out of the shadows a bit. 

I like the overall result, but if I could take this photo again, I would have stepped a bit farther to the left so as to avoid the trashcan in the image.

A step to the left would have also put the yogurt machine in the foreground and led the eye toward the subject.

I only had moments to set up the shot before my daughter moved on, but maybe we’ll go back for some froyo soon and give it another shot!

Check out the full editing video:

Want to improve your own photos right now?  Sign up for my free e-course HERE.

How to Avoid Yellow Grass in Your Photos

How to Avoid Yellow Grass in Your Photos

Inside: Do the greens in your photos sometimes look more yellow than green? Lightroom has a simple fix! Watch this video tutorial to learn how to edit greens in Lightroom.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  Any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I recommend tools and resources I use and love!

How To Edit Greens in Lightroom

Ah, spring, such a lovely time of year!  Everything’s in bloom and the world is awash in…yellow?  Often, through the camera lens, fresh green grass and new foliage can look more yellow than green.

If you prefer a warm look in your images this can be a big problem.  Yellow grass <<cringe>>.

True story, I dislike the yellow grass look so much I’ve been eyeing darker grass varieties for our yard.  But as a new photographer I didn’t notice yellow grass in my images.  It wasn’t on my radar.

Now it’s hard for me to miss, and an adjustment to the grass and foliage in my images is an important step in my editing workflow.

Before Grass Adjustment:

yellow oversaturated grass

After Grass Adjustment:

Photo of girl in field with grass color adjusted in Lightroom's HSL/Color panel

White Balance and Grass

I often set a custom white balance in camera.  White Balance, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, refers to an image’s temperature (how blue or yellow) and tint (how green or magenta).

A good white balance setting will balance temperature and tint so the whites in the image are white (not yellow or blue) and the color of the image reflects the real colors in the scene.

My favorite way to set a custom white balance is with my Expo Disc.  It does a beautiful job, but an accurate white balance setting is often warmer than the camera’s auto white balance setting would render it, and a warmer white balance often renders those greens more yellow than green.

Lightroom offers an easy way to deal with this problem.  This tutorial explains how to edit greens in Lightroom in the HSL/Color Panel.

To read more posts on photography basics, check out my photography resource page HERE.

How to Edit Greens In Lightroom – Step 1

Scroll down on the righthand side of your Lightroom Panel inside the Develop Module and open the HSL/Color panel:

Screen shot of Lightroom HSL/Color Panel

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How to Mute Greens In Lightroom

How to Edit Greens In Lightroom – Step 2

Click on the yellow square and slide the yellow saturation slider to the left.  This will, as the name suggests, desaturate the yellows in your image. If there’s yellow in the grass you will see the color of your grass shift away from yellow.

Note this is a global adjustment – ALL yellow colors in your original image will be impacted.  In images with lots of yellow throughout the image you’ll need to be careful with this overall adjustment so as not to lose other elements where you may want to keep the yellow.

In this image yellow tones are confined to the grass (note: the yellow sun flare was added and wasn’t part of the original image, so the global adjustment didn’t affect it).

See my suggestions at the end of the post for selective reduction of yellows in your grass if a global adjustment causes problems for other parts of your image.

screen shot of Lightroom HSL/Color Panel with Yellow Saturation Adjustment

No Magic Number

In this image, I adjusted the yellow saturation slider to -37.  This isn’t a magic number. How you render grass in your images is a matter of preference, not right or wrong. 

But consistency matters

Some photographers prefer more yellow in their grass, some much less.  A popular editing style renders grass blue and desaturated. 

Don’t stress over it!  Exercise your artistic choice and preference. Play with the sliders until you like it and try to apply similar adjustments to all your images.

How to Edit Greens in Lightroom – Step 3

Scroll down to the green panel and slide your green saturation and luminance sliders to the left.  Again, no magic numbers, just work with it until the grass looks less yellow and more natural.

A Selective Edit

If an adjustment to your yellow or green saturation and luminance dulls other important colors in your image, like a yellow shirt or yellow flowers, try the adjustment brush.

Click on the adjustment brush and bring down your temperature, exposure and saturation sliders.  Then paint it on the grass with the adjustment brush. This will be more tedious but will help remove the yellow saturation from your grass and won’t affect other important colors in the image.

Video Tutorial

For visual learners, watch this video tutorial on how to edit greens in Lightroom with the HSL/Color panel.

Pretty simple!  Keep green adjustments on your radar and be sure to add this step to your future editing workflow.

Want to see the full edit from START to FINISH?

Click HERE to watch the full edit!

How to Make a Lightroom Photo Book (Fast and Easy!)

How to Make a Lightroom Photo Book (Fast and Easy!)

Inside: Video tutorial and detailed instructions on how to make a Lightroom Photo Book in minutes!

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend tools and resources I use and love!

How to Make a Lightroom Photo Book

Imagine your family 60 or 70 years in the future…

“Remember our trips to the beach?” your grown son says to his siblings.  “We built sandcastles and played in the tidal pools.  Such great memories…” 

“Mom took some amazing photos.  I remember how much I enjoyed them on her phone.  She loved to take photos – photos of us. 

Man, I wish we had them now.

lightroom book templates

Your grown daughter chimes in, “Oh yeah, remember how we used to set off fireworks on the beach at sunset?  Dad would let you boys light them. You begged him to buy fireworks every year.”

lightroom book tutorial

“I know we had some great photos of that.  Mom took such good photos.  She poured her heart into her photography.  Sure wish I could see those photos now,” she sighs.

Ask yourself: in the future…

Will your kids have your cloud password or the hard drive where all your photos are stored?

What if technology changes? Will your old photo files be unreadable on new technology?

Would your kids think to transfer your photos to their own storage system?

How tragic would it be for your photos to die a digital death on a corrupted or outmoded hard drive, or to be lost with your cloud password?

Printed photos are a beautiful memento you can send with your kids into the future, and the best way to ensure all your photographic memories are accessible down the road. 

But if you’re a mom, you don’t have a lot of time to spend printing your photos.  You need a simple and streamlined process for managing your photos – from upload to print.

A Blurb Photo Book Is The Answer!

Lightroom provides the solution you need to get your photos organized and printed efficiently.  It has a built-in photo book function that integrates with an album company called Blurb.

Some initial setup is needed before you create your first book, but once you’ve done it, creating albums will be easy and fast.

Get started with this Lightroom Photo Book Tutorial:

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Step 1: Organize Your Photos with Keywords

Lightroom is an amazing tool for organizing and editing photos.  I highly recommend it!

After you’ve edited a photo in Lightroom, switch over to Lightroom’s Library Module and toggle open the Keywording tab.  Assign your photo a keyword.

Here’s how I do it: for the photos I want in my yearly album I add the keyword “Year Album.”  For example, “2018 Album.”

Lightroom photo book

When you add this keyword to images you edit throughout the year the number of images on the keyword list grows.  

When you want to see all the images with a keyword at once, go down to Keyword List.  Click on the small arrow beside your keyword on the right.  

This will bring up all the images you want in your album in one click!  Easy-peasy!

lightroom book tutorial

Step 2: Create Your Album Layout

Next, click over to the Book Module to lay out your album.

Inside the Book Module you’ll see all your photos at the bottom, ready to be put into your album.

Lightroom photo book tutorial

The book module will auto-fill your book with the photos you’ve selected.  If you don’t want it to do this, go to your computer’s menu in Lightroom and choose Book – Book Preferences.  Uncheck “Start new books by auto-filling.”

Now you’ll need to do a little setup. This will save you so much time down the road. 

Your future photo printing self will thank you for this.

Follow These Steps:

1.  Click on the Book Module

2.  Under Book Settings, choose “Blurb Photo Book.”  I recommend the Standard Landscape book with a hardcover for durability.  If the price worries you, you can choose a soft cover, or join Blurb’s e-mail list.  I order when they run a 40% off sale.  Check out Blurb’s paper, cover and format options here.

Lightroom book tutorial

3.  Under Auto Layout, click “Clear Layout.”

4.  Click on the dropdown menu beside Preset and click on “Edit Auto Layout Preset.”

Lightroom photo book tutorial

5.  Choose your album layout. You have multiple options.  I recommend keeping it simple.

Here’s how I do it:  I’ve created a layout preset with one large photo on the left and 2 smaller photos on the right.    

A Blurb photo book must have a minimum of 20 pages, so if you didn’t have a lot of photos you could choose a one photo per page layout.

Or, if you had a lot of photos, you could choose a 4 per page layout to keep costs down.  

I recommend the settings below:  

Lightroom photo book templates

Give your layout preset a name before you click DONE.

Step 3: Fill Your Blurb Photo Book and Make Adjustments

Select the preset you made from the drop-down menu, and click on Auto Layout. 

Your Blurb photo book will fill in seconds!

Lightroom photo book tutorial
Lightroom photo book template

If you want to make any adjustments to your album you can.

If you want to switch out any photos, it’s easy. Drag up a different photo from the filmstrip and drop it where you want it.  

Click on individual photos to adjust the zoom or crop.

Click on the circled options on the bottom left (see above screenshot).  This will allow you to see the whole album, one spread, or one page at a time.

    And Your Lightroom Photo Book Is Done!

    Lightroom will sharpen and optimize your images for your album.  What a tremendous time saver!

    You can save the photo book and wait to print it later (in case you want to wait for a sale) or go ahead and upload it to Blurb.

    Overheard 60 Years In The Future…

    Your grown daughter sighs with happiness as she flips through an album from 2018.

    “These photos take me back to the beach.  The sand, the wind – the LOUD fireworks.  Mom loved us so and she loved to capture our childhood.  It means so much now.  I treasure this album.” 

    Be the mom who leaves her kids tangible memories of their childhood.

    Blurb Photo Book Video Tutorial

    Watch this video to see how fast and easy it is to create a Lightroom photo book: