Behind the Lens

behind the lens

I get asked tons of questions all about my pictures.  Today I want to answer all of them!

Q: What camera do you use?
A: About 2 months ago we got a new camera, we are now using a Nikon D810 with an 85mm 1.4g lens.  We also have a filter on the lens.  The filter doesn’t really do much for the photos.  We have it on the lens for protection.  Before our new camera we were using Nikon D3000 with an 35mm 1.8g lens.  We have noticed a huge difference in the quality!  The focus is so much more sharp with a very blurry background.  We have all the camera settings on manual and adjust according to conditions.

Q: Who takes your pictures?
A: My husband, John, takes all of my pictures.  With the exception of a few photo shoots were done by Andrew Barkules (John’s brother) at the beginning of December.  He was credited in those blog posts.  Juggling the photo shoots can be challenging since he has a full time job and I am a full time Mom. Especially during the winter when weather conditions are rarely ideal.  But we love doing it so we make it work!

Nikon D810 with an 85mm 1.4g lens

Q: How do you edit your photos?
A: I edit all of my photos in Lightroom.  It’s an Adobe program that I pay about $10 a month for.   So many factors go into how the final photo looks.  It is impossible to take a photo with perfect exposure, coloring, shadows and highlights every time.  Maybe it’s overcast and my photo looks dingy.  Or light is bouncing off something yellow and making my red dress look orange.  In Lightroom I am able to fix all of that.  I work really hard to make the photo look exactly as it does in real life.

There isn’t a rocket science to how to adjust things to get a perfect looking photo, because every photo is different.  I play with the exposure, color temperature, contrast, blacks & whites, highlights & shadows until I like the way it looks.  Recently John has been doing the majority of the editing.  I think he is doing such a better job than I ever did!  He has so much more patience to sit there and keep working until it’s perfect.

You can see the importance of editing your photo in Lightroom.  Here is a raw image just taken with the camera (left) and post edit (right).

before & after lightroom edit

Q: What lights do you use?
A: We don’t use any lights.  When we take our photos outside we try to take them around the time the sun is going down so we get soft golden lighting.  If we are taking pictures during the day when the sun is up and can create harsh shadows I stand in the shade.  This way you get great lighting all around you without any shadows on your face or body.  If you are not standing in the shade, always have the sun behind you.  It will give an illuminated effect and you won’t have shadows on your face.

When we are taking photos inside I stand right in front of the window on a sunny day.  This soft light coming in is perfect for photos.  Even if they turn out a little dark, I can lighten them in Lightroom.

Q: Selfie Instagram Photos?
A: I use a Sony Nex6 for my selfie/makeup photos.  This camera has been discontinued, the new version of it is the Sony A5100.  This camera is great at capturing makeup detail.  I always have soft light, either thru a window or outside and I use the flash.  This gives the face a brighter look.  I put all of my selfie pictures thru the app Facetune.  With this app you can enhance makeup details, remove a zit, smooth skin, get rid of red eye, fix lighting and exposure, whiten teeth, reshape things… whatever you fancy!

previewing photos

Once you get the technical part of the camera down, the biggest tip I have for getting a great photo is to relax and be comfortable.  If you are feeling uncomfortable or awkward it will show on your face and in your body language.  Just be yourself and have fun, it will show thru in the photo.

John and I both really enjoy the photography part of the blog.  We both have ideas of where to shoot the pictures, how to shoot the outfit, different angles, etc.  We share our ideas with each other and are equal partners in how the pictures look.  We love working together and have a lot of fun!

Thank you Andrew Barkules for these pictures!

20 thoughts on “Behind the Lens

  1. Love this! I just upgraded my camera at Christmas from the D3000 to the D750 for my food pics. I totally understand when you say the difference in quality. When all other things stay the same, I do two side by side comparisons and its amazing. I love it!

  2. very informative! Love it! I currently use Lightroom, and Lightroom mobile. It really makes a world of a difference in photography :)

  3. Omg I am so excited about this post. I started a blog not too long ago, and just felt like I didn’t have any inspiration, but now looking over almost every post you have on here I have fallen in love and gained my inspiration back. This post was amazing! Great tips for when I go out with my friend Krista, she takes my pictures. So happy that now I have you and Jaclyn to keep up with constantly!! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next. <3

  4. Thank you for such a great post!! I am using a canon, but I really love how nikon images look the quality is spectacular! I love your blog!! You have a really beautiful style, I am trying to create a youtube channel about style, hopefully it will catch on :) Have a wonderful day! <3

    Styled By S -Youtube

  5. When you say ‘have the sun behind you’, do you mean behind the photographer or behind you, the model? Because I always thought standing with the sun behind you would cause a sillhouette! Is this not the case?

    Great post by the way, very informative! I have just invented in a Nikon D5300 and am hoping to get some great photos with it when I have got to grips with the settings.

  6. Thanks! This is so helpful! I started to blog recently, and I am just trying to find my voice & style still. I definitely do need to invest in a decent camera & and an editing program!

  7. Absolutely amazing posts! I’m hooked, inspired and now mapping out a plan to update my camera eventually. Right now I’m using a Canon Rebel Xti I’ve had it for years and she’s been good to me. However, I’d Ike to say thank you for all this information. Xo

  8. Discovered you from Jaclyn, saw her snap chat! Loving your blog! It’s so clean and sophisticated and just beautiful, love the things you blog about! Would love if you checked out mine? I’m just starting out and seeing how everything goes because I love photography and taking pics (yours are so nice) and writing!???? ????????

  9. This was a wonderful post! Thank you for taking the time to do this!
    I just started a beauty and style blog and it’s always been a dream of mine so this is kind of perfectly timed as I’m just starting to figure this stuff out! My blog is…. I only hope it becomes as successful and pretty as yours! :)

  10. Thank you for this information. It was very helpful. I have one question. It is how do you headers for websites or youtube pages?

  11. You’re so lucky to have a hubby that enjoys taking photos! I take the majority of mine myself with a tripod & remote and it can definitely be tricky sometimes. I’ve been contemplating a lens upgrade recently, I’ll have to look more into the 85 mm!

  12. Thank you for the great tips. I’m thinking of starting a blog about skin and caring for it. I’m a licensed Esthetician. Skin is my passion. I want to share my knowledge with the world!

  13. I plan on buying the Sony A1500 soon. How do I decide which lens to purchase with it? Just using it for IG selfies….

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