Friday, July 14, 2017

Behind the Lens | What Equipment I Use & How I Edit

If there's not a picture of it, did it ever even really happen?

Yep, that's my motto
And I can say with 100% certainty that it drives my husband completely nuts.
 The snapping, the clicking, the "hold on, let me take a picture" - it's the common theme of our life. But I really do love taking pictures, and he knows that. He's totally supportive, but will express his frustrations every now and then. I can't blame the guy.

For me, pictures mean more. 
They're a snapshot of a moment that you'll never get back. I have so much fun with it, and brings so much joy. Documenting, reminiscing, sharing experiences with others - it's magical. It's a passion of mine, and #sorrynotsorry to my family - but it ain't stoppin' now.

I don't claim to be an expert at taking pictures. I went to school to be a teacher, not a photographer. I have no training, I'm certainly not the best there is. I practice on my own, and I've taken pictures at a few weddings as a second shooter with my friend Ashley. But I am definitely no expert. I try to learn and I try to be creative with it every now and then. Recently though, I have been getting a lot of questions about what camera I use and what editing apps I use with my pictures. So, I wanted to share and also give some tips that help me when taking pictures too. And maybe, you can start driving your husband and family nuts just like me. Ha. :)

I most certainly believe that some people just "have an eye" for taking creative shots and beautiful pictures. It comes naturally for some people, where others really have to work for it. And sometimes, just having good equipment helps too. Personally, I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it comes naturally to me, and then sometimes, I feel lost and pictures aren't as pretty or creative. But there are ways to pretty-fy (not a word...) pictures whether you have the eye, don't have the eye, or sometimes have an eye like me. First of all, fancy equipment sure helps. Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to upgrade my DSLR camera to something even better. But for now, it's not the best idea financially, and I know I have a lot to learn about my camera that would improve my picture quality also. Currently, I have a Canon Rebel T3i - and I use the standard lens most of the time. I am really hoping to get a 50mm for Christmas. *wink wink. But honestly, the pictures that I post on social media aren't even taken with my fancy camera. Gasp. Yep, it's true. Most of the pictures that I post on social media are taken with - you ready? My PHONE. Gasp again. For a gal who loves a good picture, this phone of mine has some serious magical powers. The phone I have is a iPhone 7 Plus - the giant phone that looks like you're holding a small computer up to your head. With the iPhone 7 Plus, you have ability to change the setting on your phone to "PORTRAIT" that helps give your pictures depth effect - the KEY to turning a regular photo into something that looks more professional. Depth effect blurs the background of your pictures, making the subject of your photo really pop and stand out. It helps make your pictures look much more clean and a hint professional - even when you don't even own a DSLR camera or have any picture taking experience. Check out the picture below - the first one is without depth effect, and the second one is with depth effect.

Obviously, taking pictures with your phone doesn't give you the BEST quality. But personally, I don't carry my Canon around with me majority of the time. But I sure as heck have my phone. So it's super convenient and nice to have the ability to take a pretty decent picture in a flash. Y'all like my photography pun there? :) So, what apps do I use to edit my pictures? I pretty much use only one. And I didn't even really care about what my pictures on social media looked like before I started coaching and trying to attract business. Most of my pictures were dark, not very creative, boring, and all the same. You can totally see how not so pretty and dull my pictures used to be before I started editing a smidge.

But even since I quit coaching, I still love how my pictures look and I just continue to use the app and be more creative and thoughtful with what I post on social media - especially with having a blog - I still want to attract new followers, so the prettier the better. The app I use is A Color Story.
There are filters, effects, and tools you can use to edit your pictures, but really I only typically do one thing - the key to editing for me is BRIGHTNESS. Most people are drawn to Instagram accounts or pictures that are pretty and bright, not dark and dull. You can totally edit the brightness in Instagram, but never enough. Instagram only lets you edit the brightness once, but Color Story allows you to go back in as much as you'd like to adjust the brightness to really make your pictures pop and stand out. Check out an example of how much more AH-MAZING a picture can look if it's brightened up.

Here is the original photo using Portrait mode on my phone on the left, and then the same photo on the right brightened up. The only thing I did to edit the photo was increase brightness in the Color Story app. I wouldn't have been able to brighten it this much using only Instagram.

Sometimes, I'll edit the warmth, contrast, sharpness - but never a whole lot.
I think whats helped me the most was figuring out what kinds of pictures I'm drawn to personally - bright and clean pictures - and then recreating my own photos to reflect that. Now, I'm no expert like I said - sometimes the picture is just too darn cute not to share and it's not the best, most creative, interesting picture around. And that's totally fine. But having a good phone, and an app to really brighten my pictures has helped so much with creating pictures that I LOVE.

Hopefully this helps a little for all those who have been asking!
I'd love to share some more tips and tricks I've learned with creating pictures that are creative, clean, interesting, pretty, and bright if y'all are interested too - y'all just let me know! Happy Friday y'all!


  1. Girl I am the same way about pictures. Luckily Thomas totally gets it but like you said every once in a while he's had enough. I have the canon rebel t3i as well and recently got the 50mm lens and LOVE it. I definitely recommend getting it! I'm hoping to get the 7+ this fall. You have such beautiful pictures.

  2. I am literally chomping at the bit to get a 7plus because I'm just in love with how awesome all of your pictures look with the depth effect! Haha. However, I'm hoping that when the 8 comes out, the price goes down for the 7s! *fingers crossed*

    I'm totally in the market for a DSLR. I have a Nikon J1 but it just doesn't do what I want it to do. If you were to upgrade your T3i, what would you look for? I'm trying to figure out the best option at the least amount of cost... because that ish be pricey lol

  3. Awesome! I like Lightroom but I'm going to add A Color Story as well!

  4. I wish the iPhone 7 had portrait mode! I have a Rebel t3 and have acquired a few lenses over time- a wide angle, a travel zoom, a telescopic zoom that came in my bundle, and the 50mm. The wide, travel, and 50mm are my most used/favorite!

  5. Thank you for the recommendation on the color story ap! Editing does SO much!! As does nice equipment- I'm lucky to use husby's Canon 5d 🙊 and the 50mm 1.2 L lens is my jam 👌🏻 I'd love to think I'm in the insta creative group, but I really think I'm just in the "nice equipment and works hard" group 😂

  6. I have to say, your Instagram feed is one of my favorites! You share every day life pictures, but they are always so pretty and bright. Thanks for sharing your secrets!

  7. Thank you!! I've been so curious about your editing style. I love how bright and crisp all of your pictures are! I'd love to read more tips you got them!