Frequently Asked Five - Photoshop Actions, Cropping, and More!

1. What are your opinion on Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets? Do you use them?

I remember when I first started out, I would find a photographer I loved, stalk their website only to find they didn't use photoshop actions. I'd stare at the computer, tears in my eyes, receipts in hand for all the actions I just bought to make myself a certified photographer. Okay, dramatic imagery aside, that was me. I relied a lot on Photoshop actions to get me started. Totally Rad and Florabella were my go-tos.

Now, years on in, I find myself expressing the same sentiment as those photographers that I used to look up to. I no longer rely on actions in my work. I've created a number of my own simply to quicken my workload - a lot of layer masking. I'm able to do this because my in-camera work has come so far in the past few years.

However, using the actions helped me become more familiar with what photoshop was capable of surrounding my images - incredibly helpful coming from a graphic designer background.

2. I love image X, but can you crop out the extra space?

This is a question I get from clients occasionally as they begin ordering their images. Luckily, all of my clients can adjust the crop from within their ordering galleries to whatever they prefer. However, there is a reason behind all that "space". Images in camera are taken at a 2:3 ratio, like that of a 4x6. You’ll notice a 4x6 is rectangular, while an 8x10 is closer to a square. As a result, much of the image is cropped, which is why it is sometimes necessary to leave negative space around my subjects. Not making sense? Visuals for the win!

3. What would you say is the least "fun" part of your job?

Wow. This could be a dangerous question. I had to think about it for a minute. My answer: I can't ever leave work at the office. One of the best parts of my job (not the question Kelli...) is that I make my own schedule and get to spend the day at home with my kids. I still very much consider myself a stay at home mom and family will always come first. As a result, when the kids go to sleep - I go to work. Most working professionals, while they may work late hours, can come home and relax without guilt. There are nights when I'd much rather snuggle on the couch with a blanket and ice cream, but I head to the computer instead. If I take a few hours off at night, it's like missing an entire day of work. I can usually gauge how busy my shooting schedule is by how full my DVR is!

That being said, at this point in my career I have found a healthy balance between family/work/me time. I usually edit and work for a few hours after the kids have gone to bed while simultaneously watching my favorite shows and movies online (bless dual monitors). I make a goal for when I'd like to finish a particular task, and break it up into nightly check lists. Once I've "done good" for the night, I often retreat to the couch or bed and indulge in a little guilty pleasure waiting for me on TV.

Loving what you do is all about balance.

4. How has the crazy DC weather impacted your spring session calendar?

I'm booked, ready and anxious to shoot, but I've already had to reschedule a few sessions because I think we (meteorologists included) all thought it would be warmer by now! Some afternoons I literally want to bang my head on my desk because I am SO DYING TO SHOOT.

5. What is the one thing you never leave behind when heading to a newborn session?

My heater. Hands down. Even with lifestyle sessions, babies spend most of their sessions in a diaper or even in their birthday suit. While you and I might feel fine, it's important to remember babies just spent the past 9 months in a toasty 98.7 degree environment. I have found that the warmer the environment I'm shooting in, the better a baby sleeps when I'm attempting to get those shots of just baby.

More of my must haves for a session will be detailed in my upcoming newborn behind the scenes post that I'm currently working on!

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