Color Grading Before and After

The Before Photo

Photo Apr 25, 4 43 13 PM

If you like the look of this picture, you could stop right at this picture, fresh out of the camera. I wouldn’t leave the picture like this, and here’s why-

With pictures like these, you want all the attention to be on your subjects. The green from the trees is absolutely beautiful, but it over powers your subjects. When you look at a photo, you want your attention to go immediately to the subject,  not the background.  I shoot in RAW, whereas this was shot as a JPEG file. RAW files are easier to edit and are better quality.


The After Photo


I prefer the after photo because the greens have been toned down, and the attention has been brought to the subjects. Skin tones have been fixed to remove red skintones. I edited the photo in Lightroom, and moved the photo to Photoshop afterwards to use my ‘Highlight Action’ on all the skin in the photo. Jessica (bottom right) had a nice arm tan and I didn’t like how unnatural the action looked on her arm, so I left it mainly as is. The image has been sharpened just a little so we can make those details POP. The highlights and lights have also been brought down to help bring attention to the details.

This photo was not taken by me. I specifically chose to edit this picture because of the green and the different skin tones in it. This is one of my favorite things to do in Lightroom and I love to use presets I’ve made, but that is a subject I will blog about soon! 🙂


(In the picture from Left to Right top row: Kevin Hauger, Kyle Cordova, Chris Nickerson, Brady Copeland, Tyler Bergstrom.)
(In the picture from Left to Right bottom row: Jessica Nabers, Katie Myron, Katie Scott, Sam Pentico, Kayla Sohns, Kaitlyn Pierson)

All About Aperture

Aperture is one of the most difficult things you will have to learn as a new photographer.

Aperture (n)- A space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera.

Are you picking up on that? If not, allow me to further explain.

The key to a good picture is knowing how to adjust your camera settings to different situations. The 3 key settings you will be messing with are your ISO (camera’s sensitivity to light), your shutter speed (how quickly your camera closes its shutter and takes the picture), and your aperture.

To put it simply – Aperture is ‘the opening of the lens’ When you set your shutter speed, a hole opens up that allows your camera’s image sensor to capture the image. The aperture depends on the size of the hole you chose.

Aperture is measured in what we call ‘f-stops’ (commonly written as f/ ). This is backwards of what you would think, but the smaller the f-stop number, the bigger the hole. The bigger the hole, the more light your sensor is getting.

If you want your subject in focus and a nice depth of field, you would opt for the smaller aperture. Smaller apertures are perfect for portraits, because they highlight the subject, and blur the background out of subject. Bigger apertures are perfect for landscapes, or something farther away, because the background won’t be blurry and you can capture all the details throughout the scene.

When I first learned about aperture, I shot all my photos with my Nikkor 35mm lens at f/1.8. This was great when I did portrait shots, but it fell flat in my landscape shots.

The more your practice with your settings, the more comfortable you will become behind the camera. Adjusting your aperture is very important because it will make or break your photos!

How to use Instagram as your online Portfolio

Instagram is my favorite way to display my portfolio online to a broad audience. With the simple click of a hashtag, your profile can be displayed to millions!

Some Tips and Tricks:

  • Keep up to date on your Instagram. Post pictures from all your shoots or just pictures you took for fun.
  • Use engaging hashtags that have to do with your pictures. For instance, if I post a picture of my dog Storm, I will hashtag the words dog and photography. With hashtags, someone can search for dog pictures and be shown yours!
  • Look at different hashtags. Go through and like pictures you enjoy through the hashtag you chose. Comment and let someone know you liked their picture. This helps build into the last point.
  • Build an audience. Make relationships online. Get into a photography group and share each others pictures. Be a presence online and people will notice.

If you follow these 4 tips, you will see your follower count grow. Over the past 3 years, I went from 300 followers, all the way up to 24k. You’ve got this!



Aspiring Photographers

This blog post is intended for anyone looking into starting their own photography business!

There were several times I wanted to give up on it. I watched a few YouTube videos and thought I knew everything I needed to know. I definitely didn’t, and when I tried starting my own business, I kept failing. It’s a profession you have to do a lot of study on. (for lighting, gear, Photoshop/Lightroom, and your camera settings.)

It can be challenging sometimes, but the second I started actually putting time into my portfolio, my website, and promotion, my business kicked off. I did a lot of test shoots on friends trying different tips and tricks I learned from the internet and just good old trial and error. It has truly changed my photography and my skill set.

“If you want to begin a career in photography, do it whole-heartedly! If you don’t put your heart into it, you won’t get the results you want.”

I’ll be posting more behind the scenes videos on my YouTube channel soon due to popular demand!