Introduction to Photoshop Layers

11/22/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Introduction to Photoshop Layers


Tips on post processing in Photoshop

11/20/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Making a Good Photo Great:

Tips on post processing in Photoshop


With every click of our camera we are looking to achieve the “picture perfect” photo straight away. There are many benefits to getting it right in camera. Great light, catch lights, good color and depth, and spot on focus are just a few of the benefits that come from taking the extra steps to getting it right in camera. However, even the most “picture perfect” of photos can benefit from a little touch up. We have found that Photoshop is the perfect tool for us to be able to control these touchups.



The first adjustment we make to each and every photo is an S curve Layer. The S curve is a very powerful tool, and once learned properly can go a long way in manipulating a photo to your advantage. A great place to start is what we do to every photo. We use the S curve on every basic edit in order to add some brightness and contrast. Once we create the S curve layer, we adjust the opacity of the layer to our liking, giving it just a nice little pop.



We feel that there are certain parts of every image that can benefit from a bit of selective lightening and darkening. The dodge and burn tool is great for this. Be sure to play with the opacity of your brush, as well as the flow of your brush in order to create a soft and natural look.



We want our images to be as natural as possible while still having a beautifully touched up and “finished” look to them. For this we use the spot-healing tool along with the clone stamp. We fix things that aren’t permanent on the skin, and we minimize imperfections such as under eye circles and wrinkles. Be sure to watch the opacity and the flow of your tools here as well. You don’t want to make them look fake.

If you have an image with something that distracts the eye and takes away from the subject, these tools come in handy here as well. In the picture below we were able to remove all of the hair from the shoulder, and bring the attention back to the beautiful girl.



The next step in our basic edit is the skin. There are many skin softening tools and actions available for Photoshop. No matter which tool or action you use, remember not to apply the process to the entire photo. This will allow you to retain a beautifully sharp image while still having the soft glow on the skin.



To give our photos a final finish we sharpen them just a bit. You can choose the desired look you are going for by adjusting the opacity.


This quick and simple 5 step basic edit adds just enough punch and flare to take a good photo and make it great!



Ashley & Anna
 Anna Marshall and Ashley Wall are Boise Idaho based Photographers.  They specialize in wedding, newborn and portrait photography.  Their work has been on The Today Show, The Anderson Cooper Show, and Featured on the cover of the Chic Critique magazine.  Both have had successful photography businesses for the past 5 years.  This is their first full year in business together.  Life couldn't be better for these stay at home moms who love dating their husbands, wrestling their kids, and gabbing on the phone all day with each other.  To see more of their work visit their website or find them on Facebook under Beautiful You Custom Portraiture.

11/19/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Let's keep it simple today.  It's been quite the buzz on our social media channels.

Getting Close

11/18/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Getting Close

Macro photography provides a challenging photographic experience, and the opportunity to capture a portion of the world so rarely observed. Too often, however, new shooters are put off by images of complex, expensive setups featuring several flashes, and lenses costing the same as your average used car. My goal for the past year has been to show that these setups are not requisite for stunning macro images. Indeed, a strong image requires more creativity, more an appreciation of the subject, than it does a deep wallet.


The Gear

Wanting to get up close and personal with a fly or spider is only half the battle. To do so, you need the gear.


Often overlooked by new macro shooters are the benefits brought through the use of lens reversal rings and extension tubes.  Both options provide a way for anyone to enjoy the macro world when used in concert with a cheap lens. I prefer using a 50mm prime lens for its low number of elements and general sharpness. Others have written much on the pro’s and con’s of using extension tubes versus a reversal adapter, and deciding which option suits you best should be an informed decision. If you don’t have a lens with a manual aperture ring, you should also look up how to “trick” the lens into staying at a specific f-stop when removed from the camera body. For Canon users, this is frequently called the “DOF Preview Trick.” 


For several reasons, I prefer old-fashioned extension tubes. “Tubes” are notorious for their light-falloff. Most consider this loss of light a detriment, but I prefer it when supplementing with an inexpensive speedlight. Together, the two pieces of gear provide me with complete control over each and every bit of light reaching my sensor, and in that, a great degree of creative freedom. Backgrounds can be made pitch black by limiting flash to just the subject, or you can bring out beautifully vibrant background colors by spreading the light lovin’ around a tad and perhaps bumping your ISO.




 You don’t need a tripod. You don’t need expensive lenses. You certainly don’t need expensive flashes.


Get Close

What’s the best part of shooting macro? Well, if you enjoy insects or spiders, then you will never run out of subjects. Simply put, the critters are everywhere. If you don’t enjoy insects, I’d advise you to step outside of your comfort zone, just for a few hours, and take the following advice to heart. As someone who suffered from arachnophobia since childhood, I can tell you that you will never view these wondrous creatures the same once you simply get to know their world.


Every time I post a photo online, or show a friend during a casual study break, I get the same question. “How do you get so close?” I always reply the same way.





Nothing is more important when photographing denizens of the small worlds within our own than to recognize that their lives happen at a different pace. As a student studying Ecology at UC Davis, I’m trained not to anthropomorphize, but I simply can’t help it. The small creatures we enjoy photographing lead fantastically complicated lives, and if you want to get close enough to take a photo, you need to appreciate that. This is especially true with extension tubes, where your working distance is usually somewhere on the order of 1-2cm from the front element of the lens.


Take the time to get to know your subject’s life history. Do a Google search, read a book, or simply spend time in the field observing. I’ve found nothing to be more helpful in getting close than the last of these. Spending half an hour watching a single subject, camera still in bag, is nothing short of the norm. Several of my best images have resulted from sitting beside a single flower for upwards of three hours, watching as various insects come and go. The intuition these observations nurture will help ensure that you get out what you put in.


Tiny World, Big Perspective

In my experience, insects and spiders, especially spiders, are something most people are taught to dislike. Folks get the creeps; get genuinely uncomfortable, at the idea of most insects crawling on them. So when first entering macro photography I wondered, how can I fix that? How does a viewer build a connection to a subject, and how can I bring that to my macro work? The answer was simple: Portraits.



I am a firm believer that the old notion of eyes being a window into the soul doesn’t end at arthropods. So, I’ve pursued my subjects with just that in mind, sometimes obsessively so. If I want viewers to build a connection with an insect, I have to not only bring them down to the level of a spider, or hoverfly, but also provide them with a point through which the two can connect.


Somewhat biased, this is where I’ll mention what I believe to be the most important aspect of making great macro photographs. If you don’t get down on the level of your subjects (literally), if you don’t provide the viewer with a point of connection, they will never look at your beloved critters with anything more than mild curiosity.



Get out.

So you have what you need to go out and shoot. You have the gear, and you have the concept that macro work requires a great deal of patience and appreciation. Now all you need is to simply go out and shoot. Aim for the warmer portions of the day. Look under rocks, watch flowers. Take your time, and realize the beautiful complexity of what goes on around you. With a little bit of luck, you’ll get to enjoy the curious company of a jumping spider, or perhaps the flighty gaze of a Hover Fly.



Austin Greene is a fourth-year majoring in Ecology at UC Davis. In his second year of enjoying photography, he hopes to bring viewers new and intimate perspectives on the unique nature of the biological world.

Fall Family Photo Sessions

11/15/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Leaves are falling, and the colors are turning vibrant, deep, and rich. It is autumn, and that means family photo sessions are in full swing!

We love all things photography. But there is one thing we love most about it, and that is the ability to capture a feeling in our photos. The connection, the moment, the relationship…these are the things that make a photo beautiful. Family portraits are the perfect time to capture these real and beautiful moments. When photographing families you have a great opportunity to express your creativity and give your clients photos that will inspire them for years to come.



If you are considering photographing Family Photo Sessions this fall, here is a list of some tips and tricks to help you have a successful season.


1.      LET’S TALK

Simple, concise and efficient communication is the key to forming a good relationship with your client from the very beginning, and paves the path to a smooth session. Respond to inquiries promptly letting your client know you value them. Once the session has been scheduled maintain direct communication with them. Get to know them! Relay all of the details with your clients, and both them and you will benefit.


2.      INSPIRE ME

Now that you have taken the time to get to know your client a little better, you should have a goal in mind to create something beautiful and unique for them. Step out of the box here, and alter your view a bit. Realize that although your job title is “photographer”, YOU are an inspired and driven individual who incorporates talent and passion into everything. This is the reason you fell in love with photography in the first place. Use your inspiration to bring out the uniqueness of each family. Present some ideas to the family, and soon you will see their own inspiration blossom. Together you will create the setting for a session that will inspire great moments.



Location always plays a huge factor in setting the mood to a photo. Consider the feel of the area you are choosing, and if it matches the mood in which you are hoping to portray. When scouting out locations, remember that the most essential part of a beautiful photo is beautiful light! It’s always a great idea to push yourself as a photographer, so play, experiment, and learn new and different lighting situations. However when it comes to your clients, save experiments for a later time. Stick to open shade, diffused lighting, backlighting, or sunup/sundown for the most favorable lighting conditions.


The photo shoot is planned, and your clients are excited! But they might be wondering a few things…

What should we wear?

How should we prepare?

In the process of getting to know the family you are working with, find out how they would like to portray themselves. Is there a story they want to tell with their photos, or are there ideas that will better showcase their personalities? Would they like to use props?

After all of your homework is done; now it is time for the fun part! Get CREATIVE! Take the opportunity to push yourself, and look from within. We find inspiration through music, poetry, movies, and magazines. We also love to use Pinterest to create inspiration boards to spark the creativity of our clients, and us…but remember to use it for just inspiration. Put all of your hard work together and create your own ideas, and your own beautiful work.



Our goal on every shoot is to create a fun and playful atmosphere that will allow clients to be at ease and allow us to capture beautiful and lasting moments. Being confident in what you do goes a long way towards helping your clients feel comfortable. Come prepared to laugh, and do what is necessary to relax everyone. Squeaky toys work wonders for grabbing small children’s attention, and other family members brought along by your client can help pull some great reactions out of everyone. Again, use your creativity...we have gone as far as to promise a child a puppy in exchange for cooperation! (Parents be warned!)

Most of all; enjoy yourself! Enjoy capturing moments, freezing time, evoking emotions, and portraying feeling. Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you, and enjoy the relationships and friendships you will form.



Ashley & Anna

 Anna Marshall and Ashley Wall are Boise Idaho based Photographers.  They specialize in wedding, newborn and portrait photography.  Their work has been on The Today Show, The Anderson Cooper Show, and Featured on the cover of the Chic Critique magazine.  Both have had successful photography businesses for the past 5 years.  This is their first full year in business together.  Life couldn't be better for these stay at home moms who love dating their husbands, wrestling their kids, and gabbing on the phone all day with each other.  To see more of their work visit their website or find them on facebook under Beautiful You Custom Portraiture.

11/14/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Artificial Depth of Field Creates Interest

11/13/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

KEH Photoblog - Artificial Depth of Field Creates Interest

We'll be sharing various Photoshop tutorials for all types of users, from Amateurs to Advanced.  If you have any topics you would like us to cover, please email

Download the image used in the tutorial HERE

Tips for Photographing in the Fall

11/13/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Tips for Photographing in the Fall by Jessica Feely

When fall rolls around, it can provide the loveliest of backdrops for your subjects. In some areas of the country, the trees are a canvas of oranges, yellows and reds. You can use these colors to help your subject and image pop. Here are some tips and ideas for great photos during the Fall.

Time of day. Early morning and an hour before sunset are known as the best times to photograph subjects outside. It provides flattering soft lighting on their face. Position yourself so the morning light filters through the tree leaves and creates a backlighting effect. It could really make those Fall leaves stand out even more. 

Lens choice. A longer lens will blur the background behind the subject, while a wider lens has less compression but still a soft look. If you are shooting portrait photography, I’d recommend a longer portrait lens, such as a 50mm, 85mm, or 70-200mm. If you are shooting landscape photography, a wide angle lens such as a 24mm, 35mm, or 17-35mm can really show off more Fall landscapes. 

Get Creative. Rake a pile of leaves together and have your subject throw them in the air. Add some motion to your images by jumping into a pile of leaves. Find a Christmas  tree farm and have your subjects hide and seek while you photograph them having fun. 

Contrasting Colors. You can find these naturally in nature with the changing of the leaves. If you are photographing subjects, place them in front of bright colored trees or bushes that contrast or compliment the colors they are wearing. A red sweater or scarf would look beautiful in front of a yellow background.

As you head out this year for fall photos also remember to scout for good locations. You’ll want to visit them sooner than later because the leaves won’t last long. Mark down the locations of your favorite spots so that you can visit them the next year. Make sure to dress warm and have fun!

Creating Meaningful Moments

11/11/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Creating Meaningful Moments: By Nicole Klingler and Chantri Keele

If you are a professional photographer it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work of emails, ordering, invoicing, editing and designing. Then there’s packaging, delivering, social networking and blogging as well. How often do you return home from a shoot, pull the card out of your camera and set it on your desk- all while saying the same silent prayer over and over praying nothing happens to it? Or are you the type who (instead of laying it down) puts it directly into your card reader, starts downloading the images, waiting on pins and needles to edit a few for your client? Unfortunately, we aren’t always this excited! Not only that but does your camera come out of the bag between shoots? If you answered no then you aren’t alone. It’s the burnout, the winter blues, in a funk, stuck in a rut… Whatever you want to call it! To beat it… it’s time to put MEANING back into your art form!
As our busy fall/winter season drew to a close at True Atelier, we talked of our goals for the new year. We had just wrapped up our last magazine shoot for 2012 and were anxious for some time off. Though the shoot was amazing, we didn’t have any desire to dive right into editing the files. It was shortly after we started our conversation that we realized we had both expressed the same goals! We wanted to spend more quality time with our kids, and work on the delicate balance of life. To keep tidier homes and actually have meaningful moments with our children. We expressed our desires to take more pictures of our kids as well as write about them and our day to day experiences on our blog. Our goals for 2013 were the same, and at that point the steps to successfully achieving them easily came about.

1. We must purposely seek out everyday moments with our family that can be captured meaningful in our downtime
  • we can make a list of moments to consider documenting such as; a beautiful morning, our daily routine, a lovely meal, our child playing in the nursery, the cat in front of a dreamily lit window, reading time, a quiet moment with your partner or spouse, a piece of art, a miracle of nature, a moment of perfect happiness
  • getting used to documenting these types of things will have us looking for and creating moments and scenarios to experience with our children and loved ones that can become lasting and  meaningful memories
  • this helps us in our personal and family relationships, aiding us in achieving balance
  • learning to find meaningful image opportunities in these everyday circumstances helps us to be better at creating and capturing real and meaningful moments with our CLIENTS in our professional settings
2. Actually being IN the images, rather than just behind the camera, will make these captured moments all the more meaningful to us as well as our family members
  • be a part of at least ONE meaningful image a week by being in FRONT of the camera, instead of behind it
  • we do this by using a remote trigger/ transmitter system and setting our cameras focus mode to an automatic setting that will find the main focus according to the camera’s computer (more on this to come!!!)
3. Create a schedule for sharing, insta-gramming, and blogging your images
  • when we create a schedule for this, as well as an on-going list of what will be documented next, we don’t lose momentum and we have a sense of accountability
  • our families will have a consistent documentation of our lives and precious momements
  • our clients that follow our blog and other social media platforms get to know us better as people, not just photographers (photographers are people too:-)
We have found that by implementing these steps, we are able to find joy in our work, even during the stressful and busy times. We are remembering and focusing on the reasons many of us picked up a camera in the first place…. to document our lives and families. We are more successfully achieving a balance between work and family, and creating a lasting legacy for our children. Remember that on our deathbeds, we are never going to regret that we didn’t work more, or spend more time at the office or on the computer, but we will regret the fleeting moments and memories that weren’t created, savored, and captured for years to come. Give some of these tips a try and we promise that meaning and balance will be a greater part of your life and business.
Nicole Klingler and Chantri Keele are Idaho based, national wedding and portrait photographers with an affinity for all things styled and editorial. Their work has been featured on popular photography resources like SENIOROLOGIE and LEMONADE & LENSES, as well as in print in CHIC MAGAZINE, the IDAHO WEDDING GUIDE, and IDAHO WEDDINGS magazine. Nicole and Chantri love sharing what they have learned with other photographers in the industry through blogging and classes. Check them out at , through their other social media platforms found above, or visit them at their studio in the historic downtown of Idaho Falls.

Camera Collecting Basics

11/08/2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Whether you're an amateur, professional, or anything in between, camera collecting is something anyone with a love of cameras can enjoy.  Collecting can be expensive, cheap, fun or educational, but the best part is it can be anything you want it to be.  With a little research, you can be well on your way to a rewarding hobby of camera collecting.  We've compiled a few basic tips to help you plan your camera collecting strategy.

As a general guideline, collectibles are considered vintage items when they are 25 to 99 years old.  A collectible that is 100+ years old is considered an antique.  Newer items may be considered collectibles, but they won't be categorized as vintage or antique.  When it comes to cameras, anything from the 1970s and older is a good time period to aim for in regards to collecting.  Another way to look at it is the time period before the advent of digital technology, but of course the most important thing is to collect what you like.          

Why Collect  

One of the first things to think about is why you want to collect cameras.  Do you want to trace the history of photography by acquiring certain cameras?  Do you have an affinity for the quality and craftsmanship of vintage equipment?  Do you want to use the camera gear you collect, or do you simply enjoy the aesthetic appeal of the object as a display piece?  Once you determine why you want to collect cameras, it will be much easier to decide what pieces to collect.  Antique and vintage cameras are valued for many reasons, so it's helpful to have a goal in mind when acquiring pieces for your collection.

What to Collect

The great thing about collecting cameras is you can be as broad or as specialized as you want to be.  If you're just starting off, it's a good idea to focus on a specific goal.  It can be very overwhelming with many different cameras to choose from.  Once you've thought about why you want to collect, you can prioritize what to collect.  Some collectors find it helpful to choose a favorite "type" of camera to collect.  Different "types" of cameras include rangefinders, SLRs, TLRS, novelty or toy cameras, view cameras, box cameras and so forth.  If your goal is learn about the history of photography, you may want to collect different "types" to learn how they work.

Vintage Polaroid 185 Land Camera

You can also specialize your collection by acquiring pieces by a certain brand.  If you love Leica, you may consider collecting only Leica items.  If you have a favorite film format, you may decide to collect cameras that use that specific format.  Perhaps you have a very specific camera in mind and only want to collect accessories for that camera.  You may even consider a favorite time period, material or specialized niche like subminiature cameras or instant film cameras.  If you're just looking for a handsome display for a shelf, pick out cameras that are visually appealing to you.  There's no right or wrong way to collect, the key thing is to collect what you like.

How to Collect

If you don't have a specific goal in mind, that's okay too!  If nothing else, the two key things to keep in mind are to buy what you like and buy what you can afford.  If it's your first time collecting a vintage camera, set a small goal on how much money you are willing to spend.  Setting a price limit of $5-10 for your first camera is a safe way to get started with collecting.  The value of an old camera is based on many factors such as rarity and condition.  Just because a camera is old doesn't mean it's valuable.  If a camera was mass produced, chances are there will be many available for sale.  However, just because a camera isn't valuable in a monetary sense, doesn't mean that it's not a worthy piece to collect.  You will stand a much better chance of acquiring a camera that's more affordable and in better condition if there are more available for sale.  There are many popular, fun-to-use and well-built vintage cameras that aren't rare, but are easy to acquire at a good price.   

Vintage Kodak Petite Folding Camera

Another important thing to remember is to do your research.  The key to a good collection is research, so it never hurts to do your homework.  Be sure to check the current market prices for cameras so you will know how much to reasonably pay for an item.  Don't be afraid to ask questions, and never spend more than you are comfortable with.  Just because a seller is asking for a certain price doesn't necessarily mean it's a fair price.  The more you study prices, the better you will be at spotting inflated prices vs. a fair price.  Also, the more you learn about cameras, the better you will be at identifying pieces of equipment.  One of the great things about camera collecting is the knowledge you will gain from your research.

Once you have an idea about why and what you are collecting, you can fine tune how you are collecting.  If you only want to collect vintage cameras to use as display pieces, they don't have to work.  You can simply focus on the cosmetic appearance of the camera equipment.  If your goal is to collect cameras to use, the functionality of the equipment is key.  Gear your research towards learning how a particular item works, if a certain camera has any known quirks, if repair options are available or if the kind of film it uses is readily available.  Due to the limited availability of parts, repairs for vintage cameras can be costly.  Other cameras may use a type of film that is no longer in production, and a possible conversion to an available film type may be expensive or not feasible.

Coca Cola Novelty Camera

Some collectors look for both the cosmetics and the functionality of the camera.  Again, research will be the key to getting the best possible piece for your collection.  Be sure to research the make and model of the camera you are interested in collecting.  Find out the year it was produced, the materials it was made with, how it works or if there were different variations or versions.  If an item has the original boxes, paperwork and accessories, this will oftentimes add value to the piece.  Check for dirt, dust, rust and mold.  If an item is being sold as "untested", keep in mind that it may not work.  Look for any missing knobs, caps, etc.  All of these factors will affect the cosmetics and functionality of a camera, and the best way to protect your investment is to learn as much as possible.

Where to Collect     

Once you've determined what you like, what you want to spend and conducted a bit a research, there are many places to hunt for vintage cameras.  Estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, antique stores and camera swap meets are all great places to explore.  Online websites such as eBay, Etsy and trusted used camera dealers like KEH Camera are great resources too.  Just remember to do your research, know your prices, set a spending limit and you'll be a position to have a much more positive experience than going in blindly.  If you're buying online, make sure to buy from a reputable dealer.  Read online reviews, check seller feedback and don't be afraid to ask questions.  Unless you're buying from a dealer you can trust, ignore the word "rare" when shopping online.  Just because something is listed as rare doesn't mean it actually is rare.  Check completed auctions on eBay to gauge the selling price of an item (make sure to look for items that actually sold instead of items that didn't sell).  If you're really serious about collecting, you may even want to invest in a copy of McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras.  It's a great book that will help in your quest of identifying, pricing and determining the rarity of a vintage camera.

Storage and Maintenance

Whether you have five or a hundred cameras, proper storage and maintenance will go a long way in protecting your camera collection.  Keep an inventory list with serial numbers and take photos of your equipment in the unfortunate event that your gear is lost or stolen.  Always make sure to keep your camera gear clean (it's always better to have a trusted professional clean your camera rather than doing it yourself if you aren't experienced).  Proper air circulation is important, so your camera collection is better on a shelf than in a closet when possible.  If you do store your equipment, always remember to remove batteries to avoid corrosion, and store your equipment away from moisture or extreme temperatures.  Silica packets are also very handy, especially if you live in an area with a lot of moisture.

If you have a love of photography or photographic equipment, building a camera collection can be a rewarding pastime.  With a little research, you'll be armed with the knowledge to build a great collection.  Whether you love the nostalgia of vintage equipment, or you simply want to learn a new format, you'll be sure to have a fun and educational experience.  Cameras are a great physical manifestation of the wonderful world of photography, and the knowledge you gain from learning about them will be priceless.