your questions answered: photography and post processing

Friday, October 29

What kind of camera do you use? I have a Canon 5D Mark II
What kind of lenses do you use? I use a Canon EF 85mm 1:1.8 lens and a Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 lens
How did you learn photography? I first learned photography through a black and white film class my sophomore year of college. With film as my starting point, I found photography to be more difficult for me because I didn't have the immediate gratification of a digital to see if I was capturing the photos correctly. So I purchased a starter Nikon D40 through a friend and kind of self-taught after that. After a couple months of experimentation and trial and error, I got the hang of it. There's still so much I want to learn though! Oh, I love it. 
When do you take your pictures? How do you find the time? We take them as soon as we get home from work around 5 or 6pm. And we don't have a lot of time, so the shoot typically lasts 2-3 minutes.
Who takes your pictures? My honeybuns. That man's got some raw talent.
How do you get that golden/glowy effect on your pictures? The post processing I do on my photos is all done through Photoshop. It's my favorite part. :) A tutorial on how to get a real goldish / Polaroid look is at the bottom of this post. 
I have a regular point/shoot camera. What are some good tips for getting great pictures anyways? 
-Use great lighting! Like I said, we usually take my outfit pics around 5:00 or 6:00pm when the sun is lower in the sky. That gives you softer, golden lighting and will showcase your clothing significantly better than the harsher lighting the comes around the middle of the day.
- Do not take a picture with your subject in the direct center of the frame. For example, try shooting a close-up of someone's face, cropped off to the right of their cheekbone and placed in the right side of the frame. This type of cropping make the picture more visually interesting and appealing.
- Use the rule of thirds. Always try to compose your shots with this in mind. By using {roughly} a small, medium and large object/negative space in your composition, the viewer's eye will always have somewhere to look and travel to throughout the picture.
What camera would you recommend for someone just starting out in photography? The Canon Rebel or the Nikon D40 are great starter cameras. I started out with a Nikon D40 and learned so much about the basics of photography just by trial and error. Both are excellent cameras for just diving into photography with because they're easy to use and pretty basic when it comes to learning aperture, shutter speed, etc.

Moving on...
Here we go...
1. Open your image in Photoshop. Duplicate it once. Select the duplicate image on your layer palette and set the blending mode to Soft Light.
2. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Choose a really dark blue. I use #070144. Set this Fill Layer to Exclusion.
3. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. Slide the black slider to the right a little bit to increase the intensity of the coloring.
4. Add another Color Fill layer. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Choose a light orange. I use #de9b82. Set this Color Fill Layer to Soft Light with opacity of 75%.  
5. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Choose a light pink. I used #fed1eb. Then, set this Fill Layer to Soft Light with 50% opacity. 
6. Add another Color Fill Layer. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Select a dark blue. Again, I use #070144. Set this Color Fill Layer to Exclusion, opacity 100%.
7. Duplicate your original image. And bring this duplicate layer on top of all the layers. Set it to Soft Light.
 
And that's it! Whew! Sorry if that confuses the heck out of you...hope it helps at least a little!
Good luck! 

84 Response to your questions answered: photography and post processing

October 29, 2010 4:45 PM

Sydney this is fab - thanks so much for doing all this. you've answered so many of my questions in a really clear way :)
thanks again you talented lady!
xxxx
http://misshannie.blogspot.com

MUA
October 29, 2010 4:53 PM

Thank you so much for posting this...I doubt very much I'll ever find the time to photoshop my pics (taken by my 8 year old after homework ....in my living room....with a crappy camera...)...but if one day I find the time : I'll sure use this post as a reference !

Caro xxx
PS 1 : yeah for man style ! and not only every 10 months when you're sick
PS 2 : Let.s see the bright side : You're ready for morning sickness and so he is !
PS 3: Hope you feel better ...

October 29, 2010 4:58 PM

I hope you're feeling better!

Love your Photoshop tutorial. I love the post-processing part of photography with Photoshop, Lightroom, and the many fun online photo editing tools... could spend hours (and hours) on it, actually:).

October 29, 2010 5:00 PM

fab. photos.

October 29, 2010 5:14 PM

Thanks for the mini Photoshop tutorial! I had forgotten how to do coloring like that. (:

October 29, 2010 5:26 PM

Thank you so much for the helpful tips, Sydney!

I'm highly considering getting the Nikon D40 now! It seems to take great shots.

Thanks again!

October 29, 2010 5:30 PM

I have a D40 too and love it! I really need to take more time to learn the ins and outs of it though. I use Picasa for editing (it's free) but I might have to look into photoshop. Thanks for all the awesome tips!

October 29, 2010 5:36 PM

Thanks for all the helpful tips. I can wait to try them out. I have always enjoyed photograph.

Also congrats on your interview with Lauren.

October 29, 2010 5:44 PM

ooh syd, i'm so going to try this on photoshop.
i have photoshop bridge as well, do you use that at all.. i am obsessed with it. i have yet to use it on all my edits though. i need to start. i love your photog. you're excellent!

October 29, 2010 5:53 PM

thank you so much for the photoshop tips!! i'm still learning my way around photoshop so this was perfect for me!!

kileen
cuteandlittle.com

October 29, 2010 5:55 PM

I love the mini blog makeover! I'm currently in the process of trying to find something that is visually appealing/really me, and this site gives me a lot of inspiration:) Also, I really need to get the guts to rock this scarf look, it's too adorable!

Sarah
http://baumers.tumblr.com

October 29, 2010 5:59 PM

Wow, that's awesome Sydney, thank you so much for sharing these tips with us xox

October 29, 2010 6:27 PM

Great post! I love hearing how other bloggers take their photos, and your photos always look gorgeous.

October 29, 2010 6:37 PM

you have noooo idea how many times i will reference this in the future when my husband gifts me with photoshop (we'll see. my birthday list is kind of big.)

thanks soooo much.

also- for your header and all that jazz... do you use photoshop or illustrator? i am in the stone ages with the capacities of each and i was wondering if photoshop would do everything i want and more with fonts and design and editing.

have a fabulous weekend, sydney!

October 29, 2010 7:02 PM

thank you so so much!!! this made my day :) you are awesome!! :)

October 29, 2010 7:15 PM

Thanks sooo much for the tutorial!!
Keep me posted about your camera :)

October 29, 2010 8:41 PM

Can you show us (me) the before and after for a few more photos?

October 30, 2010 1:49 AM

Thanks dear! I am going to use this on some photos I will let you know how it turns out

October 30, 2010 3:30 AM

thank you so much for sharing. some people would usually hold back info but i'm really glad you shared it to us. *HUGS*

Emy
October 30, 2010 5:48 AM

Hi Sydney,

I've become a recent follower of your blog, and a recent blogger so these tips are really helpful thanks! I love your style and how in love you and your hubby seem to be, quite inspiring. Keep the posts coming:)
xx Emy

http://sweetpromises.tumblr.com/

October 30, 2010 5:55 AM

Thank you for the great tutorial :)!!

October 30, 2010 7:58 AM

so excited to try this! muchos gracias!

katherine
October 30, 2010 11:27 AM

i am interested in buying your camera!! after years of wanting one, my husband and i finally decided it would be our christmas present to each other. do you mind sending me info on your pricing (katherine.michalik@gmail.com)? thanks! -katherine

October 30, 2010 12:46 PM

I'm definitely interested in buying too! I have a d70 whose life is slowly coming to an end. Let me know when you have more information!

norton.hilary@gmail.com

October 30, 2010 2:28 PM

gorgeous photos :) thanks for the tutorial too!

October 30, 2010 7:40 PM

These are awesome! :) Thanks for the tips!

October 31, 2010 7:01 AM

Love the photos! Thanks for the tips!

http://ashleyanderic.blogspot.com

October 31, 2010 9:57 AM

WOW!!! what a wonderful post :) thanks por that PS tips !!! your photos really amaze me and will definitely give it a go! hope you have a lovely weekend!

October 31, 2010 12:33 PM

Sydney-Sydney-Bo-Bydney! This is great! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

October 31, 2010 1:36 PM

You're awesome! Thanks for all your helpful tips girlie. Look how many people you've helped jumpstart their blogs. Such an amazing blogger :)

LOVE.

October 31, 2010 9:20 PM

This is so great, Sydney - your blog is so inspirational! Thank you for such a great tutorial :)

xo Kirsten
http://triplemaxtons.blogspot.com

October 31, 2010 9:52 PM

Just tried this in Photoshop- beautiful!!! Made an PS Action so you don't have to do each process step-by-step, and it auto-applies the above to the photo. Would you like me to email it to you? All I ask for is a credit and link to my blog if you post it :)

xo Kirsten
http://triplemaxtons.blogspot.com

November 01, 2010 12:52 PM

Okay so I think I did it but wow... you do that to every photo?? They look great but I'm so impatient. I'm going to try what Kristen suggested and save it as a default. Thanks for the tutorial!

November 01, 2010 1:30 PM

Thanks for the Photoshop tutorial! I use Lightroom to post process my photos and this is a really great method as well! I can't wait to try it out (:

November 01, 2010 1:58 PM

so, if i get photoshop will it make me a good photographer? :) your are such a talent girl!

~selina

November 01, 2010 3:07 PM

I tried it and my pictures came out weird!! It might be because they were too dark in the first place...

www.clothedmuch.com

November 01, 2010 3:22 PM

This is so helpful, Sydney. Thanks a million for taking the time to do this! xo

November 01, 2010 7:54 PM

This is very helpful. Great job! I also love your pictures. And, you're really pretty.

November 01, 2010 8:46 PM

thanks so much for posting this. i've been playing around with photo editing all night thanks to your tutorial. i'm always inspired by your photos.

November 01, 2010 10:33 PM

Really informative! SUCH a great blog!
xoxo,
MG
www.mgstylemix.blogspot.com

November 02, 2010 7:18 AM

thanks for the tutorial --

for peeps wondering if you do that everytime, I'm guessing you just save your PSD & drop your new photo into your layers so you don't have to add those fills every time right?

if you don't - you should - it would be much easier & you could just keep re-using your fills -- OR you can set & save a "behavior" in photoshop so that it does that every time in about 2 seconds, also much easier!

November 03, 2010 9:52 PM

the scarf under the belt is genius. I could never pull it off with humongous boobs. You have the perfect petite body for fashion!

November 04, 2010 4:17 PM

Thanks for the how-to. Question on step #7: so you duplicate the original image again (like in step 1)? Why? And then you place this duplicated "original" image on top of the "second-Photoshopped" image? Lastly, you set it all (the original duplicate and the 2nd "messed with" image) to soft light?

Phew ... did that even make sense? THANKS!

November 04, 2010 6:14 PM

I would be interested in buying your camera when you want to upgrade...let me know!

November 04, 2010 6:14 PM

I would be interested in buying your camera when you want to upgrade...let me know!

November 04, 2010 9:13 PM

Great photos and very fun editing. :)

November 04, 2010 9:44 PM

THANK YOU for the new action :) I LOVE it! It is so easy and fast, just like we were talking about. I need to be faster with editing. And I just love the way this looks!

November 13, 2010 7:21 PM

this is so helpful! i am a newcomer to your blog and i just love it!

November 14, 2010 12:11 AM

You are absolutely adorable! Great tips too! If you get a new camera, let me know details about your D40. bur09015@byui.edu

Thanks!

November 30, 2010 1:41 PM

Sydney!
Thank you so much for this post! I'm a new reader of your blog & am so happy I found it. I just started blogging this year & need some tips on photography. After reading a few of your posts my 1st 3 questions were: what kind of camera, who takes em and what program do you use? Thank you for all the info. Your doing an awesome thing girlfriend. You inspire me with your faith & fashion sense. I'm still trying to find my focus for my blog but you have given me some great ideas. I can't wait to share this with all my girlfriends..even though they don't blog I know your site will catch their attention :)

November 30, 2010 1:41 PM

Sydney!
Thank you so much for this post! I'm a new reader of your blog & am so happy I found it. I just started blogging this year & need some tips on photography. After reading a few of your posts my 1st 3 questions were: what kind of camera, who takes em and what program do you use? Thank you for all the info. Your doing an awesome thing girlfriend. You inspire me with your faith & fashion sense. I'm still trying to find my focus for my blog but you have given me some great ideas. I can't wait to share this with all my girlfriends..even though they don't blog I know your site will catch their attention :)

November 30, 2010 1:41 PM

Sydney!
Thank you so much for this post! I'm a new reader of your blog & am so happy I found it. I just started blogging this year & need some tips on photography. After reading a few of your posts my 1st 3 questions were: what kind of camera, who takes em and what program do you use? Thank you for all the info. Your doing an awesome thing girlfriend. You inspire me with your faith & fashion sense. I'm still trying to find my focus for my blog but you have given me some great ideas. I can't wait to share this with all my girlfriends..even though they don't blog I know your site will catch their attention :)

November 30, 2010 9:35 PM

I was jjjjust about to ask about your post-processing techniques! I'm not too shabby at photography but I really need to improve my post-processing skills. I love that your photos are so golden and full of light. Have you built an action for this? Anyway, I'm off to play around in Photoshop...

December 06, 2010 9:22 AM

I was wondering how you have such cool looking pictures! Thanks for the instructions.

I just practiced on one of my pictures and I have a question:

When all said and done, how many layers of the original do I have in my layers pallete. I had the 1. original background 2. a copy right over that and 3. a copy at the very top of all the layers. Do I have too many? Or, is that correct?

December 16, 2010 7:59 AM

this is very interesting!!! the advices you give about blogs are very true and honest.
oh, and the photoshop tutorial! will try it on a few of my own photos!
xxx Maria

December 28, 2010 10:31 PM

Thanks for the tutorial! I just tried it out. :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

January 01, 2011 7:27 PM

photoshop tutorial is awesome! love this post. thank you.
xoxoannhedge

January 02, 2011 10:13 AM

wow I don't even have photoshop! haha umm when you guys move to DC can I buy you lunch and you can explain more? hehe
I kid... well kinda... unless you say yes...

January 24, 2011 5:33 AM

THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS!!! IVE BEEN WONDERING HOW TO ACHIEVE THESE KINDS OF PHOTOS. Im not a pro when it comes to photoshop... This will really help.

Gracias!!!

www.gingerrrtea.blogspot.com

January 31, 2011 1:33 AM

Thanks for the tute. I've given this a go for my 'lace ups' blog post tonight.

Would love for you to check it out.

x
Michelle
www.michellesstylefile.blogspot.com

February 15, 2011 11:36 PM

Thank you a million times... I have three little girls and have been wanting to do a photo shoot and haven't been able to find a tutorial that gives the effect that I wanted... and then I found you. You have made my day. Much appreciated! keep up the amazing pictures and blogging. Found you from how does she!

March 18, 2011 7:53 PM

Oh my! you just help me see the awesomeness in Fill layers! now I'll start playing with the modes:D

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

wow I don't even have photoshop! haha umm when you guys move to DC can I buy you lunch and you can explain more? hehe
I kid... well kinda... unless you say yes...

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

Thanks for the tute. I've given this a go for my 'lace ups' blog post tonight.

Would love for you to check it out.

x
Michelle
www.michellesstylefile.blogspot.com

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

Thank you for the great tutorial :)!!

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

I was wondering how you have such cool looking pictures! Thanks for the instructions.

I just practiced on one of my pictures and I have a question:

When all said and done, how many layers of the original do I have in my layers pallete. I had the 1. original background 2. a copy right over that and 3. a copy at the very top of all the layers. Do I have too many? Or, is that correct?

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

Thanks for the tutorial! I just tried it out. :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

Oh my! you just help me see the awesomeness in Fill layers! now I'll start playing with the modes:D

March 25, 2011 1:38 PM

Sydney!
Thank you so much for this post! I'm a new reader of your blog & am so happy I found it. I just started blogging this year & need some tips on photography. After reading a few of your posts my 1st 3 questions were: what kind of camera, who takes em and what program do you use? Thank you for all the info. Your doing an awesome thing girlfriend. You inspire me with your faith & fashion sense. I'm still trying to find my focus for my blog but you have given me some great ideas. I can't wait to share this with all my girlfriends..even though they don't blog I know your site will catch their attention :)

April 12, 2011 7:23 AM

I love your photos, i think i´m gonna buy a good digital camera and try!
Thanks for your tutorials, they are really great and usefull!

kss from spain

May 02, 2011 11:52 AM

This tutorial is AMAZING! Thank you so much to opening up my eyes to Photoshop and all the fun actions that can be done. I applied this to a set of images and re-posted your tutorial here: http://dashingpearl.blogspot.com/2011/05/photoshop-fun.html

Thanks again!

May 17, 2011 11:37 PM

I've had photoshop for over a year now, have never known how to use it, and am now getting giddy over my knew found knowledge thanks to your tutorial!! So wonderful! -Rosie

July 22, 2011 11:03 AM

Thank you so much for this tutorial! The first thing that really drew me into your blog was the look of your photographs. I love the vintage like feel of them!

I've turned your steps into an action in photoshop which I appropriately labeled "Daybook". Now it makes it so quick and easy!

Kyle

September 27, 2011 10:08 PM

Just found this tutorial through Pinterest, and made it into a Photoshop action so I can easily apply it to any photo. Thank you so much for sharing!

October 14, 2011 9:56 AM

I edited one of my photos with your tutorial! thanks! now i need to make it into an action!

http://myescapeworldthrumylens.blogspot.com/

JH
December 22, 2011 11:47 AM

oh man! how did i go this long reading your blog before i stumbled open this post!?!?

i'm thoroughly convinced my {frugal} self that i need a nicer camera, AND photoshop... picnic and instagram are cutting it anymore!! (though they certainly have their place)

http://twopeasteenypod.blogspot.com/

December 28, 2011 8:50 AM

Sydney,
I just got photoshop elements for Christmas and have been messing with it for a couple days with absolutely no luck. I remembered coming across this tutorial a while ago and thought I'd give it a try... Wasn't expecting success. It worked! This is the first successful thing I've done on photoshop!!!! Oh my gosh finally! I'm so excited! Thank you!

Luvv, Leigh B

January 03, 2012 6:21 AM

I was wondering how you have been editing your pictures recently that have been inside they look do cozy!

Carrie

January 03, 2012 9:51 PM

Thank you so much for this! I have always wondered how you made your photo's so pretty. Took me 2 seconds to make a perfect template I will re-use all the time with your helpful instructions :)

January 14, 2012 9:23 AM

This is awesome!! I copied the steps on a sample image and am really happy with what the result. I learned something new with that "exclusion" bit - thank you so much!! :)

February 11, 2012 12:21 PM

Wow Sydney, you are amazing! I am in the process of starting a blog and I am so inspired by you. I believe I discovered you when searching for ombré hair thru google or pinterest ( not sure). You have such a friendly way of putting things and I love that you have involved your new lil addition! Thank you.

March 15, 2012 12:18 PM

Thank you so much for the awesome tutorial!!! I have read your blog for a while and wondered around a bit an found this tutorial! Thank you, I LOVE it :)

July 06, 2012 7:27 PM

This has helped enormously! Thanks, Syd!

August 17, 2012 6:39 PM

Hi Sydney,
I recently played around and did a photo shoot with some of my cousins. I was looking around Pinterest and saw this article posted and thought it turned a photo cute!
I followed your steps and it worked!
Thank you so much!
Tiffani

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