Print the Pictures!

7/30/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

Okay, I am about to admit to something really bad.  It's not very smart.  It's a terrible habit.  I tell people to do this ALL THE TIME and I am a horrible example of it myself.

I rarely print my photographs.  There, I said it.  And the first step on the road to recovery, as we all know, is admitting you have a problem.  And it is a problem, there's no doubt about that.  I mean why are we taking pictures in the first place?  To look at them right?  How are we supposed to do that when they are hidden away in some file on our hard drives?  It is so easy in the age of digital photography to take a million pictures, upload them, edit 5% of them, post them on Facebook, and never see them again.  Sad.

So, rule number one is this: print the pictures.  Not all of them, but a lot of them.  Pick some favorites and give them wall space.  And please don't feel like you have to keep them on the wall forever.  That makes it too hard to make a decision.  Be willing to change out the pictures on your walls on a regular basis.  Have you seen those cool frames that allow you to just slide your pictures in and out whenever you want a change?  You don't even have to take them off the wall.  Just sayin...

Another great way to enjoy your printed pictures is to create photo books.  They are so cheap and easy to make these days.  Some people like to put each vacation or major event in its own book. Others like to condense each year into it's own volume. Books are a great way to get a lot of pictures printed in a small space.

There are so many ideas out there for creative ways to print your photos.  Pinterest is a fountain of knowledge on the subject.  All of the online printers have there own products as well.  What really matters is that you do it.  Remember the days when you had to print every picture you ever took if you wanted to see them at all?  Isn't it fun to look back at the photo albums and through the shoe boxes full of 3x5 and 4x6 prints?  Let's get back to those days a little bit.  Make sure your family can have the same experience.  I'll do better too!

Lightroom: Maps Module Part 3

7/29/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

Post 32
Series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Welcome back to the Maps Module!

Reminders: You will need to be online to use Maps. The Maps Module connects to Google Maps. The terms "pin" and "tag" are used interchangably.

Navigating the Map

Let's find our way around in this Lightroom module.

Which Photo is tagged on the Map?

When you float over the filmstrip and come to a photo with GPS coordinates attached, the pin will bounce. This can be helpful when you are looking at a map full of pins.



You can double-click the map to zoom in to that particular location. You can also use the Zoom slider to zoom in and out. If you have a mouse or trackpad, you can use your "multitouch" gestures to zoom in and out as well. For a keypad shortcut, click Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and drag to select an area to zoom into. Type in a location in the search bar and the map will also zoom in to that location.


Changing the Map's Appearance

In your top bar, go to View/Map Style. You can choose from several map styles here.

Hybrid layers geopolitical borders and landmarks over satellite photography (Keyboard shortcut is Command or Control on Windows + 1):

Road Map with geopolitical borders and landmarks (Keyboard shortcut is Command or Control on Windows + 2):

Satellite View and it's beautiful photography (Keyboard shortcut is Command or Control on Windows + 3):

Terrain shows a graphical interpretation of the landscape (Keyboard shortcut is Command or Control on Windows +4):

Change the contrast of the road map data with Light or Dark (Keyboard shortcut is Command or Control on Windows + 5 for Light or 6 for Dark):

Next post we will cover the Map Key, removing GPS metadata, Saved Locations and a few other things.

Next Post: Lightroom: Maps Module Part 4

These posts are part of a series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out, or look for her on


Lightroom: Maps Module Part 2

7/24/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

Post 31
Series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

You have decided that you want GPS coordinates attached to your images. You open your images, look at the metadata and discover the box by GPS is empty. Now what?

Land of the Dead
Image taken in Punta Sur, Cozumel

Adding GPS Data to an Image

Long after the photos are taken, you sit at your computer and wonder where to begin. There are a couple different ways to find and attach GPS coordinates to your image. Make sure the image is selected.

Google It

In your web browser, look up the address or location where the picture was taken. When you find the coordinates, copy and paste them in the GPS box, and hit enter.

Now go to the Maps Module. A yellow tag is on the map of the coordinates you entered.

Another Option

Instead of doing an internet search, go straight to the Maps Module. Type in the exact address in the top right search bar and a tag will show up on the map in a zoomed-in preview.

If you right click on the tag, you can choose Zoom In, Add GPS Coordinates to Selected Photos or Delete GPS Coordinates.

Simply click on the tag and a thumbnail of your image will show up, connected to that location.

It's a Breeze

Even easier, in the maps module, click and drag any image or group of selected images from the Filmstrip to the point on the map where they were taken. The GPS coordinates are automatically set.


Let’s Dive In…

We got our toes wet. There are many more things you can do in the Maps Module. Next time we will show you what they are and how they help you expand the possibilities with your photography.

Next Post: Lightroom: Maps Module Part 3

These posts are part of a series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out, or look for her on


Seeing the Light-Part 4

7/23/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

I'd like to spend some time on "non natural" natural light sources today.  What does that mean?  Well, what to do when the sun is no longer available?  I try not to use my flash much so I have tried to find some lighting sources to use in the dark that are already available.  So they are not technically "natural" but they are also not my flash.  Does that make sense?  No?  Okay, let's look at some examples of what I'm talking about.  And just FYI, I converted these images to black and white and added a pulled back shot to show the light source.  Nothing else was done to enhance the images.

If your children are anything like mine there are going to be light sources all over your house at night. Tablets, video games, book lights, get the picture.   They are connected to so many light sources all of the time.  Why not use them to capture your children doing one of their favorite things?  Whether it's reading in bed or playing on your phone, there are opportunities to snap lovely photos.

Another light source I love at night is window light.  This is kind of the opposite of daytime window light.  At night the lights are on IN the house and you need to be outside of the window.  I love the fun look you get with the window light from the side.  Play around one evening with this one.  The kids will love being up late and you can experiment with something new.  My kids are a little weary of all the pictures I take of them so new is always a good thing.

Some other common nighttime light sources are streetlights, cell phone flashlight apps, car headlights, spotlights... really the possibilities are endless.  I would love to hear some of your experiences with unusual light sources.  Please share in the comments.  And keep having fun with seeing the light!

Seeing The Light-Part 3

7/16/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

It's time to take it outside now.  When you are discussing natural light it seems the obvious place to be.  But just like the window light we talked about last week, there are so many different ways to use the biggest light source ever! 

Front light:  In order to get front light outside you need to be out there early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  You want the sun to be low so that it bathes the face of your subject evenly.  It will also allow you to capture more color and detail in your background.

Side light:  Placing the light on the side of your subject allows you to be out when the sun is higher and brighter.  You can have your subject looking away to eliminate squinting and shadows on the face.  You can also get a lovely glow on the parts of the subject you want to highlight.

Full sun:  There is no reason to fear full sun.  There are times it will be exactly what you want.  It can be vibrant and colorful and wonderful.  You don't want your subject looking directly into the light of course.  Expose for your subjects face and let the background be bright and happy.

 Back light:  Again, one of my favorites.  I love to use the sun creatively.  Let it be a subject itself like in the following maternity portrait.

Or use it to create an angelic glow, or a hazy, softly lit background. 

There are so many possibilities.  The best way to figure out your favorites is to get out there and take a ton of pictures!  Make some mistakes.  Try some crazy things and see what works.  Have fun.  Get out there and see the light!

Lightroom: Maps Module

7/15/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

Post 30
Series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Location, Location, Location

Did you know that GPS coordinates are embedded in your photos’ metadata? Well, many cameras  already have this location information set to be built into each image. I imagine eventually all cameras will. Since we are in an age of technology transition, if your camera doesn’t automatically record the image location, you can add it here in the Lightroom Maps Module.

But Why?

How could a location attached to my images be helpful to me? Here are a few reasons to answer that question. Do you have many images and need a way to sort them? You can sort and browse your images in Lightroom by location. Do your images have more meaning because they are attached to a particular location? If you sell your photography in any way, attaching that location can make your images more important and useful to your clients. Take a peek at location images on Pinterest. Not only are they beautiful to look at, their associated location is intriguing and travel-inspiring.

Yes, Please.

So you’ve decided the GPS data is something you want to associate with your images. Where in Lightroom do we start?

Internet Critical

First, make sure you have an internet connection. The Maps Module is not very helpful if you can’t link to Google Maps through Lightroom.

Ahhhhh, Alaska
This image was taken at Knik Glacier in Alaska.

Open an image in Lightroom. While you are still in the Library Module, look over on the right under Metadata. (Click the arrow to the right to open.) If you’d like a refresher on Metadata, our previous blog post is here:

This is a good time to add metadata if you haven’t. As you scroll down, your very last point of metadata is GPS. Is the box full or empty?

If it’s full (and you haven’t entered this info manually before) your camera is recording GPS info for you. Clicking on the arrow to the right of the GPS box will take you directly to a map and pin in the Maps Module. How nice!

You can fill in more complete metadata on your image in the Maps Module (on the righthand side).

Back in the Library Module, if the GPS space is empty, you get to fill it in. Where? How, you ask? More in the next post.

Next Post: Lightroom: Maps Module Part 2

These posts are part of a series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out, or look for her on

Seeing The Light-Part 2

7/09/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

How obsessive have you been this week about the light around you?  Hopefully you have been paying attention both indoors and outdoors.  Today we'll be discussing creative lighting for indoor photos.  This post is perfect for those of you who love to take pics of your children doing what they do in their rooms, playroom, dining room, get the idea.

Here are my favorite indoor light sources: Okay honestly, I have one favorite indoor light source.  But there are so many options for that one light source!  So, what is it?

Window light.  This may seem obvious but there is so much you can do with one good window.  

For example:

Front light:  Set your subject right smack in front of the window and have them look outside.  This will give you very even light with no shadows on any part of the face.  It'll also give you great catch lights in the eyes.

Side light:  With your subject sideways to the light you will get some shadowing on one side.  This creates depth dimension and gives you a completely different look verses front lighting.

Small disadvantage to side lighting is that you can lose the catch lights in the eyes.  To fix this have your subject turn slightly more towards the window.  Or just embrace the depth of the eyes created by the shadow.  This girly of mine has the darkest brown eyes you've ever seen so I love this photo with out the catch lights.

Back light:  I am in love with back lighting.  It's makes your subject glow and gives an ethereal, almost fairy woodland feel.  To make it work for you just make sure you expose or the subject's face.  You don't want to lose the detail and it's better to have the background overexposed in this case.  That's the look you are going for after all.

Yummy!  Look at that delicious light!  Now go have fun in your own house.  Study the windows in your home and which ones are best at different times of day.  And enjoy the fabulous photos you're going to be taking of your children!