Ask Me Anything Questions
Editing, Manual Mode

I have received some “Ask Me Anything” questions lately but I haven’t had a chance to post them in the Ask Me Anything section yet. Sorry!! I thought I would post the latest ones here for you and I hope sometime this week to get them put into the appropriate sections in Ask Me Anything.

How did you edit the picture of Kate not smiling from 3-10? it is a beautiful picture!
Thanks :O) I will try and put a video together this weekend of how I edited it.

You take remarkable photos! I have a Nikon D60 with a AF-S Niffor 24-120, AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm and a macro 52-58mm lens. I shoot scence modes. But my quest is to shoot manual. Do you have any suggestions to start me off? Thanks for the inspiration
Thanks so much for your kind words! Shooting on manual is so much fun and you will cherish your photos :O) First, I would learn your camera and find out how to change your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Second, read as much as you can on the exposure triangle. My best advice is to practice, practice, practice!! No matter how much you read and learn, if you don’t put it into practice it will never stick :O) Good luck! I look forward to seeing some of your photos!

How do we get that look with the haziness and textures in some blog photos?
I will try and do a post soon about how to achieve the haziness in photos. As far as the textures go, I’m not sure which photo you are talking about because I haven’t added textures to any of my photos. Thanks for the idea for a post! I’ll try and get that answer to you soon!

ETA: 6 Steps to Create a Haze Effect

I was wondering if you have any tips on taking good photos in spotlight / halogen lights. Restaurants and our kitchen in particular are giving me trouble – I can’t find a WB setting that works.
The best thing if you are having WB issues is to do custom white balance. Sometimes the preset WB options aren’t exactly the right one. Also, make sure your photo is properly exposed, so if that means you have to raise your ISO as high as it can go don’t be afraid to do it.

Here’s a follow up about prime lenses (are you tired of my questions yet??) :-) Can you tell me why you love the primes so much? I’m wondering if it’s a hassle to have to run up close to get the shot you want instead of simply zooming in.
Okay, the reasons I love prime lens they are a bit sharper than zooms unless you are able to afford a really nice zoom that are typically around $1700. Honestly, you get so used to using your feet to zoom that you don’t notice it after a while. It does take some getting used to though. See if you can rent one for a few days before you buy one. There are companies you can rent them from. Good luck! I would never tire of your questions :O)

Best lens for 1.6x crop sensor camera for taking shots inside the house weddig small group or portrait. I am looking for a prime lens and am considering a canon 35mm 1.8?
I think the 35mm 1.8 would be a great lens. If you can try and get to a camera store to try it out or even see if you can find a place to rent it so you can see if it is what you are looking for.

I have a 28-90 mm kit lens on my Canon Rebel XT right now, but it sometimes “catches” when I try to zoom- something is rattling around in there. Do you recommend replacing it or making do with the rattle and getting another lens w/ different features?
Personally, I would not pay money to fix a kit lens. I actually don’t recommend even buying the kit lens. When I bought my d90 I got the body and bought a 50mm 1.8 to go with it. It’s not a good thing for your lens to rattle or to even catch. I would recommend saving up for a 50mm 1.8. You can typically find them for about $100. Here is a link to a post I wrote about the different types of prime lenses.

Comparing a 20mm, 35mm, and 50mm

Just keep in mind with a 50mm or any prime lens it doesn’t zoom. I’m a huge fan of prime lenses :O) Good luck!

I read here that you invested in a nice camera bag that doubles as a diaper bag – care to share what it is? I would love an easier way to lug all my stuff around!
Yes, I have a fabulous camera bag. It’s the Kelly Moore one. Here is a link to a post I wrote about it.

Kelly Moore Bag

Unfortunately, the discount code giveaway is over. I also want the hobo bag of hers. My wish list goes on and on :O)

What type of aperture and shutter speed do I need to take a blury picture with a clear backround in a sunny day?I’m not sure I know what you mean when you say you want a “blury picture” with a “clear background”. Do you want your background to be in focus? If so make sure you have a narrow depth of field (DOF) meaning your aperture number is really high. However, if you want a blurry background make sure you are shooting wide open (low aperture number) Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number for shutter speed. Just keep it above 1/125. Good luck!

What type of shutter speed do I need to to take a blury backround picture in a sunny day?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number with shutter speed and the blurry backgrounds. The blurry backgrounds all have to do with what number your aperture is set at. You would want to shoot as wide open as possible (the lowest number aperture) To figure out what shutter speed you would need to be at depends on how much light there is. If it is a sunny day make sure your ISO is as low as possible and keep your shutter speed above 1/125. If you have a certain photo you would like me to look at you can send it to me with your settings and I can help you figure out what your settings should be for that photo to get a blurry background :O)

So, I use CS5 and have a few storyboard and blog templates that I really do not know how to use it. I would love to step up a notch with my blog and print some storyboards for my house walls. Do you have a good tutorial kind of like really basic for that?
I’m sorry! I don’t use CS5 and don’t have any great tutorials on this. I will keep an eye out for a great lesson on this though. Sorry!

Okay…I use the auto mode on my DSLR most of the time, and when the flash is too much, I’ll just press it down after it pops up, and take the photo without it. I often get a yellow cast to my photos then…do I need to just go full manual to avoid it?
That yellow cast you see is due to the white balance. The lights indoors tend to leave a yellow cast on your photo. Basically, you would want to shoot in manual mode and change your white balance. Here is a link on a post I wrote about white balance.

Custom White Balance

Do you create virtual copies when working in LR? Also, do you use the flag system? How/why do we need it? I am still trying to figure out this lightroom thing!
I do not use virtual copy in LR – unless I did a photo session for someone and am trying to give them two copies of one photo, for example – a color and black and white version. The great thing about Lightroom is it is a non-destructive editing system. This means that all your originals stay in tact and it doesn’t mess with them. I love this feature because I know in a couple of years I may not like how I edited some photos. I can then change the edits because my original is still there.

No, I don’t use the flag system. The only time I did use it was when my husband and I were trying to narrow down our top 10 photos from the past year to give as gifts to family members. I had picked about 25 to choose from. Then we assigned them the different color flags to definite “yes” “maybe” and “no”. It helped. However, for my normal editing and organizing, no I don’t use this.

Good luck with Lightroom! I hope you love it! Just find what works for you :O)

How do you create a custom watermark in Photoshop? I can’t seem to find a tutorial online that will work for me- I start out with a transparent background, but when I go to put it on my picture it’s a white background! Bonus if you can help me make a wat…
I’m sorry to say I don’t have Photoshop. I have PSE but don’t use it for my watermark. I use Lightroom (which it is super easy) I did find this tutorial for you though, hopefully it can help you.

Simple Transparent Watermark Tutorial

Unfortunately, your question got cut off and I’m not sure what the “bonus” was. Sorry! Hope this helps!

Any tips on getting super sharp photos? How sharp do you slide the sharpen slider on lightroom?
It depends on what you are shooting. Most of my photos are of my children and they are on the move. If you are shooting still life I would suggest using a tripod. I use back button focusing (BBF) to help lock in my focus. Having proper exposure will really help get a sharp photo. Also, making sure that your shutter speed is fast enough (1/125) to capture a sharp photo. Something else to keep in mind is your aperture. If you are shooting wide open and your focal point falls on something other than you want your photo won’t look as sharp. So I would suggest not shooting wide open until you can nail your focus.

I don’t actually use the sharpen slider in Lightroom. When I export my photos I just make sure to check the “sharpen for screen” button.

ETA: How to Take a Sharp Photo

I have a Sony a300 with a 75-300mm zoom, 18-70mm, and 50mm. Would you recommend upgrading the camera for headshots/full body pictures? Or get another lens? What would be your lens of choice for a clear shot of full body out of what I already have? Thank you
Mmm…that is a tough call! It is up to you if you want to upgrade you body. I’m not familiar with the Sony a300 so I’m not really sure what yours is capable of. Are you happy with the body?? If you were to upgrade, which body are you looking at? Do you have a certain lens in mind that you are wanting? I love lenses so I understand wanting to get another one. What do you mainly shoot?? I would think that your 18-70mm or the 50mm (depending on where you are standing) would work. A lot of professionals say to put your money in your lenses so it’s up to you :O)

Do you crop a lot of pictures to make them real close up?
No, I have a 28-75mm 2.8 and if I want a close up I just zoom in. If I’m shooting with my 50mm then I’ll just get super close :O)

You should do an online video of shooting your kids. Not a question, but I think it would be interesting to watch what you do.
Mmm…that is a great idea! Just don’t know how interesting it would be. he he I’ll keep that in mind though :O) Thanks for the suggestions! I’m always open to ideas for posts!

How many pictures do you typically upload a day? Do you edit every single one you keep?
Depends on the day but typically somewhere between 50-100 if there isn’t anything spectacular going on during the day. However, if I have a certain shot in mind or we do something I want to take pictures of then it can be somewhere between 100-200. I do edit all the photos I keep but I don’t keep all the photos. Again, depending on what it is I typically only keep about 25-50% of the photos I took. For example, yesterday I took some pictures of my new hair cut. I took 171 and only kept 2. HA! I don’t need a ton of pictures of me :O)


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