Photoshop Tricks for Beginners - The Importance of Good Lighting

As I continue on my photography journey, I want to utilize my blog to showcase some of my work, discuss my strengths, work out my weaknesses, and most importantly, show anyone who is just starting out like me what I'm learning and perfecting.

So I'd like to start a recurring post each week called Before and After. I'll be using this to demonstrate my editing techniques in both Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, and to also discuss what I could/should have done better in camera.

I learn a lot in post processing about my camera handling abilities based on how much work I have to do to create a decent final product. Lighting is the #1 thing you have to master, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, it still is not perfect, or close to it.

I have a little studio I'm currently establishing in my basement. I have overhead fluorescent lighting down there, which isn't bad necessarily at this stage for my pictures, but it's not exactly ideal. My goal is to purchase a lighting kit with the money from my next job so that my photos are more evenly lit and there aren't as many shadows. The struggle with waiting until then is A. Dealing with the aforementioned shadows and B. having to up the ISO on my camera which creates a lot of noise in my pictures.

I recently did a shoot with my daughter for her 3 month pictures staged as Harry Potter. It goes without saying that I'm a Harry Potter nerd, and I waited my whole life to have a child so I could take these pictures. Here is my favorite picture SOOC:

You can see right off the bat the coloring is off because of the low lighting, and there are major shadows on her face because the light hits her from above. But the overall look and feel of this picture is absolutely perfect, so I did my best to save it.

I always start my photos out in Lightroom CC, and I just use the basics: WB, Tone, Presence, Sharpening, and Noise Reduction.

These are the actual levels I adjusted to for this particular picture. Below is the before and after.

Just those simple adjustments made such a huge difference! Next, I opened it in Photoshop to get rid of the shadows/uneven skin tone on her face.

In the beginning, I thought the Clone Stamp was such an easy tool to use, however I've discovered it takes a bit more skill to master. You've got to find the right brush size to use, or else you'll end up with hazy coloring around the area you stamped, which in this case was the cream of her skin hazed over her lenses. Once I stamped out the shadows, I ran my "Creamy Skin" action from BP4U, and brushed on some new color to even her out and give her some beautiful baby skin.


Those wittle lips!!!!!

I used Pioneer Woman's Bring On the Eyes action to give them a little more color and life, and then finished off with my First Photo action from BP4U's Newborn Workflow which gives the picture a very subtle matte, while also boosting color. It has become my go to and my favorite for Newborn shoots as well. 

Here is the original and the finished product:

Not bad, not the best, but Lorelai's beauty definitely makes this picture what it is: perfect. Except for the people that think she's a boy in these pictures, then I guess she's handsome?

I shared this and a couple of other photos from this shoot on my Facebook page More Than A Memory Photography by Kayla, and in 8 days I've already had 180 shares on this album from people all over the USA. Pretty cool for a page that, as of today, only has 129 likes :)

Side note: If you are reading this and following along, please visit my Facebook page and "Like" it!

So that's my editing process as of now. I'm sure as I evolve and learn new things, and perfect my shots in-camera, it will change as well. Now, I have to go be a mom and stuff, so until next time!


Baby Harry Potter Photoshoot

Update: We have entered Lorelai into a cute baby photo contest for a chance to win a $250 Toys R Us gift card! Please visit the link below and vote for our little Harry Potter Baby!

For my daughter's 3 month photos I decided to do a Harry Potter themed shoot. I have been a fan since I was a child and still have all of my original books. I used to wait in line at Wal-Mart or Barnes & Noble to get my copy at midnight on release day. I was depressed for weeks when the series ended. I still get teary eyed when I think about Fred Weasley...

Lorelai has a very "Harry Potter" look to her with the big eyes and the constantly messy hair, so this was a cinch. Plus, all she had to do was lay there and hold her wand while looking adorable - she is a pro!

When I downloaded the images to my computer after we were done I seriously wanted to cry. They were so much better than my initial vision. They are still to date my favorite images of her and I am excited for the day that I can introduce these books to her and hope she loves them as much as I did.


Is this thing on?

Mic check, is anyone out there? Does this thing still work?

Well, it's been a while since I've done this, I'm not sure where to start. And because I'm sure no one is out there reading this, I guess I'll begin where I want to.

I think I last blogged in December of 2013, which means its been almost three years since my last post. A lot has happened since that time. I married this guy on November 8th, 2014.

We took our honeymoon to Los Cabos, Mexico in July of 2015 and had the absolute time of our lives.

Three days after we came home I found out I was pregnant. I lost our first baby just five days later. That experience tore me to pieces, but made us stronger as a couple.

Five weeks after, we made our second baby. Pregnancy wasn't kind to me.

And on May 12th, 2016 after 23 hours of labor, I had a natural labor and delivery (what the hell was I thinking?!) and brought our beautiful baby girl Lorelai Grace earth-side at 10:08am.

As you can imagine, she's frickin' perfect. So perfect that I left my job in the staffing world to stay at home and marvel at her perfection.

I also decided to grow a pair and finally pursue my dreams of starting my own photography business. It is my passion, and I am so grateful to have a husband who has supported me in following this dream and allowing me to be at home with our baby girl in the process.

It's still a work in progress, and I'm trying to get my footing and get this thing off the ground. For now, I just have a Facebook page: Kayla Layla Photography. I'm also resurrecting this tiny little corner of the world in case anyone wants to follow me along on this new adventure.

I'm at a place where I don't think I could ask for much more in this life. I don't have it all, but I have what I need. And now I just want to reach for the stars and see where I land. I hope if anyone is out there reading this you'll humor me and stick around for a while. Pretty Please :)