Open Thread Thursday

The way it works is you just post any question you have in a comment and other readers can comment with an answer to your question or post one of their can be about parenting, photography, or just whatever you feel like throwing out there!

So, what’s on your mind?


I have two things, one is that Inspire me baby is hosting a giveaway for my Wall Display Guides!   There’s a pretty nice discount at the end of the post, just incase you’ve been waiting for one to try the templates :)

Inspire Me Baby is a really amazing site if you don’t know about it already.  Just today Zenia posted an amazing (free to use) what to wear guide for a maternity shoot, check it out:

The other thing is that I am gearing up to do either a long post or a series of posts about LR3, so was wondering if anyone had any specific questions about it that I can try to address?

OK, your turn!

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Wall Display Templates for Photographers

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carol says:

i’d love to know about your workflow! where do you download to, label folders, i have LR3 and the trial is expiring soon. i do like what i can do with it, but i can’t figure out about storing, saving, differentiating between edited version and original files..

Kristen says:

Another who thinks of LR as another planet, except I do love it for basic adjustments. Where it’s another planet is fixing blemishes, masking, quickly cropping to a specific size. I always go to photoshop for those, but would love to stay more in LR. For what I do use LR for, I do love it! So excited, my LR3 is on the way and to watch your tuts Ariana!

Oooh, also, how about tweaking actions in LR? I only run them if I perfectly love the result, because tweaking them and figuring out what they did seems a pain. I love how much easiest it is to adjust layers in ps.

Off to check out Inspire Me Baby, thank you for that!

ariana says:

Hi Katherine, yes definitely! Google “preset heaven”.

Marie, I use my normal print labs which include proDPI and WHCC. WHCC will pretty much let anyone open an account, so you might try there :) It’s the “press printed cards” you are looking for.

Marie says:

I am planning my daughter’s first birthday party and took a stab at designing my own invites. I was wondering where you had Jasper’s invitations printed? If it was a local place, can you recommend a good website?

Katherine says:

Hi! Is there a way to download or import new Presets into Lightroom? I have LR 2, but noticed that others seem to have more LR presets than I have. I know how to create my own, but would love some others.

Jill says:

Hi, I stumbled upon your pics which I love especially the newborn. I’m just starting out in photography and it looks like there are alot of props you need. What things are a must with a newborn (hats,baskets,blankets,backdrops etc.)? I see the old floor look how is that done? Thanks again for any input.

Shane says:

Has anyone found or built a twin bed rail for a sunken style platform twin bed? Somethink like the Ikea Malm twin bed where the mattress sits down into the frame — so no room for those rails that slide under the mattress.

ariana says:

I USED to store them on my harddrive, until that got full in like 2 weeks LOL. I now utilize MULTIPLE external drives. The beauty of LR is that it doesn’t care at all where you store your images. It will import them and store them wherever you tell it too and keep tabs on where they are.

This sounds like it might help clarify the import process for you:

Kim says:

Hi! I am looking into switching from using iphoto with PSE to Lightroom with CS5. My photos are stored on my computer’s harddrive (and backed up on Smug Mug) since until now I shot jpeg. I have recently been dabbling in shooting RAW and think I may need to store all photos in the future on an external harddrive (with SmugMug). Where do you store your photos? I would love to see you do a tutorial on making the switch to Lightroom as an organizational/editing tool, importing photos from your camera, and storage. Sorry if this sounds like too much. I’m just trying to figure out the best process for doing this and thought you may be able to shed a little bit of light on this for me or others who are looking to switch. Thanks!!

Chris says:

What does it mean to meter off of something? I realize this is a loaded question. But does it simply mean having your ISO / aperture / shutter speed correct so that the arrow is pointed to the middle of your screen. And if so, if you’re familiar with the particular setting where you’re shooting (ie. your kitchen where you’ve previously taken a billion pictures), can’t that be done by memory, without taking a test shot and then altering the settings? Or am I totally missing the boat and way off the mark? (Entirely possible, hah!!)

ariana says:

Chris, what you’ve explained is how to read your light meter. “Metering off” of something means pointing your camera towards a specific person or object to read the light meter. To answer your question, there are tons of things that could necessitate metering again no matter how many pictures you’ve taken somewhere. For example, no room is lit evenly throughout, so if you’re taking a picture of a subject on one side of the room, you most certainly would have to remeter if you moved them to another area where there might be more or less light hitting them. Different times of day when there is more or less natural light etc. would all change the amount of light. Hope that helps!

ariana says:

Kimberly, you KNOW I would love to!!!

So the not sitting stage is hard.. definitely bring some type of basket/bucket etc for some support.

The other thing you can do is bring a bumbo seat and take waist up shots!

And of course, lots with mommy :)

Kimberly says:

I’ve been a bit on hiatus from any kind of serious photographing, given all the stress-strife-trauma-drama in my life the past 6 months or so… but I’m going to do a 6-month shoot for my cousin’ baby girl on Saturday. We’re going to do it early in the morning at the university, which has some beautiful grounds and hardscape. She’s not quite sitting up on her own yet… tips? I am venturing into shooting mostly in manual, and I do have my big reflector/diffuser and my 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, the infamous Tamron… what else… help me Ariana! ;)

And, can you come out here and shoot some maternity photos for me? ;)

ariana says:

Melanie, I honestly have only thought about it in passing.. maybe I’m in denial LOL. I did a mommy SOS though a while back that had some GREAT suggestions should you chose to take on that battle!

ariana says:

Pam, My post will mostly focus on the upgrades since LR2, but if you need a basic primer in LR (I did too, I was totally lost at first!) I highly suggest the adobe video tutorials:

Anything in the LR channel!

Hi Carla,
Jasper has brown eyes, so I’m experienced in this area. I know that I have a really popular tutorial on eye popping, but like most things I have come to take a more natural approach and only do one thing: Use the dodge tool set to highlights and exposure at about 5%. What that does is brighten up ONLY the catchlights and really makes them stand out. If you don’t have catchlights in your image, no amount of photoshopping is going to make them look good, so focus on getting those in camera to make the most difference.

One other thing to note is that often when we increase contrast in an image to achieve a nice pop, that change can make eyes turn into dark holes! It’s a great idea to mask the eyes off from those sorts of adjustments.

Hope that helps!

Melanie says:

I see Jasper is quite a fan of his pacifier, (my daughter who is 20 months is attached to hers as well), have you given thought or do you have plans to get rid of it?

In terms of LR, I’m a complete newbie – I’d love to know some detail on your workflow or general tips to consider for someone just starting to use it.

Carla says:

Any suggestions for enhancing brown eyes in Photoshop?

pam says:

I just wanted to say I’m excited to read your LR3 post. I only have about ten days left on my trial, but I will probably be buying it shortly. I’m very familiar with photoshop, but LR is like another planet!