Monthly Archives: January 2012

{‘Shop Talk’ – RAW vs. Jpg + 10 Photoshop shortcuts I can’t edit without}

It’s week 2 of ‘Shop Talk’ and I have so much to talk about but I’ll save my words so I don’t overload this post.  :)   Have you ever wondered if you should be shooting in RAW or Jpeg?  It’s a question I get a lot from other photographers.  Many aren’t sure if they should be shooting in RAW, Jpeg or both.  As we know, RAW files are HUGE and require post processing.  And now that computer processing power is much more affordable  it’s not as big of a deal as it was just a couple of  years ago.

So why shoot in jpeg since digital space isn’t as big of an issue as it was in the past?  There are some advantages to shooting in jpeg for certain users.  Some photographers prefer the camera to apply the processing algorithms so there is less post-processing after the picture is taken.  The camera applies exposure, white-balance, color, contrast and sharpening processes to the image so you don’t have to adjust these in photoshop if your settings were applied accurately to the image.   When you look at a SOOC jpeg image it looks decent and sharable, while a RAW image looks flat, very low contrast and somewhat muted.  Also shooting in jpeg won’t drag your camera’s speed since the files are compressed.  Okay, so then why would someone opt to shoot in RAW if it adds to your workflow and the images don’t look pretty coming out of the camera?

There are so many advantages to shooting in RAW (of course there are drawbacks too, some mentioned above).  You can control exposure, color, white-balance, contrast and sharpening rather than having the camera apply these irreversible settings.   RAW files make batch processing easier when adjusting the saturation, contrast and temperature of all a group of similar images.  Jpeg files can be inconsistent and if adjusted there’s a possibility of damaging some of the pixels trying to reverse contrast or another element that was pre-processed into the file.  Also RAW images record a higher dynamic range with the ability to properly bring out more highlights and shadows in post-processing.  Jpegs can be manipulated but not without loss of data.  Even rotating a jpeg image will cause data loss.  When shooting jpeg your cameras firmware compresses the image quickly (so speed is faster since it’s making the data output smaller) but in the process there is some range of color that is lost as well as resolution loss.  Jpegs are also grainier because of this compression.

So why not shoot both since you have that option on your camera?  Shooting both RAW and jpeg takes up more room on your memory card.  Additionally, having 2 files of the same image (duplicates) can cause organizational headaches to your filing and editing workflow.  It can be done but I personally don’t think it’s necessary to shoot in both RAW &  jpeg.

Is there a right or wrong method of shooting?  No.  It’s all in what you want, how much control you would like to have and  how much post-processing you want to dedicate to your images.  I personally prefer to shoot in RAW.  For me , I love that I can save a large image with all of the proper information recorded from the cameras sensor to the raw file so there is no data loss and I can have the freedom to manipulate the image how I choose.  And since computers are more powerful and buying storage is getting less expensive , it’s not causing as much strain on speed or space than it did in the past.

I hope that clarifies some of the questions and or misconceptions that are out there about file format settings.

10 Photoshop Short-cuts I can’t edit without.

I have my mouse set to zoom in and out by scrolling up and down (huge time saver)

Press B – to change to the brush tool

[ - Decrease Brush Size
] – Increase Brush Size
Shift+ [ - Decrease Brush Softness by 25%
Shift+ ] – Increase Brush Hardness by 25%
1 → 0 – Tool Opacity 10% → 100%
Shift+1 → 0 – Flow / Airbrush Opacity 10% → 100%

move the selected layer to be the first or the last one
Ctrl + Shift + [
Ctrl + Shift + ]

Alt+Ctrl+G Creates/Releases Clipping Masks

Opt + Shift + “-” or “+” key allow navigation through the blending mode drop-down.

‘maintain aspect ration button’ (not really a short-cut but a valuable tool – it’s the little icon that looks like a chain link) – use when you’re cropping, copying and using the free transform tool.

Check back in two weeks for my next ‘Shop Talk’.  If you missed last weeks post, click here :)


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Michelle WJanuary 31, 2012 - 11:02 pm

I love your thoughts on RAW vs. Jpeg. Thanks so much for sharing. Your shortcuts are womderful too!

NatashaJanuary 29, 2012 - 9:21 am

Very interesting to read. Tfs.

Jessica JayJanuary 27, 2012 - 11:11 pm

Informative post! I’m thinking about getting a MAC seems so much easier to edit on. Although maybe these shortcuts would work on a PC too. Thanks so much for sharing.

Heidi MahonJanuary 27, 2012 - 7:33 pm

ExcelLent explanation. I knew there was a good reason why I shot in RAW. Great PS shortcuts too. I’m going to have to try some

RileyJanuary 27, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Good points and in words I get. Thanks for doing these posts.

RebeccaJanuary 27, 2012 - 12:30 pm

Great post!!! Good diagram, easy and relatable.

Laurie AnneJanuary 27, 2012 - 10:17 am

Brilliant!! I shoot in jpeg but now I’m going to try RAW. I hadn’t heard of the shortcuts you mentioned and I thought I was pretty savvy in photoshop. I guess the learning never stops. Thank you.

Creamy:) » My BlogFebruary 18, 2012 - 5:39 pm

[...] Shooting in RAW + Manual – Kara May Photography has an awesome article on her blog comparing RAW vs JPEG READ IT NOW! The other must is shooting in Manual- when you are [...]

{My Velvet Owl Interview – Women In Business}

Heidi of owner of the ‘Velvet Owl’ asked me a while ago if she could interview me for her ‘Women in Business’ series.  I was flattered.  She posted the interview on her blog today.

This past fall, the kids, Jeff and I went out to do a family session in timer mode.  Always a challenge but worth a try.  I never posted those images.  I have more but since I’m in a hurry I’ll start with just these.  Jeff and I are never alone in pictures….so we let the kids run around so we could have some pictures of just the two of us.  We were laughing most of the time but there were a couple of serious ones lol.   And me with the kids (again, rare for us).   Thank for popping by!

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Philly Baby PhotographyFebruary 21, 2012 - 9:53 pm

Beautiful! Way to get in front of the camera! I just did a self portrait series with Ava;)! Very empowering!

Luke CFebruary 1, 2012 - 3:28 am

It’s official Kara, you rock! your work is always so tasteful, honest and friendly! Your blog is welcoming and positive! It’s so great to visit and take a glimpse into your world every now and then! There should be more pro photogs like you with both a fantastic attitude and portfolio xxoo…

ChelseyFebruary 1, 2012 - 12:39 am

You have such a beautiful family, Kara. Lucky mama :) LOVE the shot with you & your two kiddos – every mama should have one of those. xo

NatashaJanuary 29, 2012 - 10:09 am

You are such a beautiful family.
Must try this with my family. You are gonna have to share some how to tips cos I’m clueless :)

CoriJanuary 28, 2012 - 2:34 pm

What beautiful pictures of a beautiful family!!!

RebeccaJanuary 25, 2012 - 5:43 pm

Gorgeous Kara!! And your interview was fantastic. I like what you said about local competition and being friends. It’s awful working as a photographer and not knowing your peers.

CherylJanuary 25, 2012 - 5:27 pm

Oh my goodness, your kids are ADORABLE! Your shots are also incredibly crisp. What a great family. Now, off to read that interview!

LindsayJanuary 24, 2012 - 8:18 am

Geez!! These are beautiful! And I loved reading more about you in your interview.

MeganJanuary 23, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Gorgeous pictures of you and your family! Your interview was great! I have a love hate relationship with working out too.

JessicaJanuary 23, 2012 - 5:33 pm

Beautiful family. Gorgeous shots. Thanks for sharing!

{Project Twenty-Six On Friday’s ‘let’s get close’ – Phoenix Children’s Photographer}

It’s that time again…it’s the 2nd post of Project Twenty-Six! Here’s the first weeks post.   The theme this time is ‘let’s get close’.  That could mean sooooo many things, so my mind was reeling with thoughts and ideas this week.  It could mean ‘close’ as in relationships?  It could mean ‘close’ as in macro shot close?  It could mean ‘close’ as in proximity close?  I couldn’t decide what route to take so I kind of did a  little bit of everything. The first photo above, I focused on unique lighting but if you look closely you can still see the theme ‘let’s get close’.  Did you find it?  Keep looking.  Yep, it’s Brielle looking closely at a ribbon she was trying to un-knot to put on August our pup.  But this image was taken later in the day than the pictures below.  It was after dusk and her room was dark except for the night sky where the moon was shining in.  I set my camera at ISO 6400 (hence the grain) and I put my shutter-speed at 1/20th of a second.   This picture was a bit haunting when I saw it on my computer screen.  Brielle is afraid of her room.  She doesn’t like that she can see herself in the mirror from her bed, she thinks that ghosts will get her and she’s afraid of  the tissue pom-poms we had hung up but have since taken down.  I’ve tried to soothe her fears but it’s not working to well…slowly we’ll get there.  But in looking at this picture I did find it a bit haunting.  Her room is bright and cheery during the day…at night it takes on a different look.

My other takes on this theme – {below} macro of Brielle’s eyelashes.

Brielle looking ‘closely’ in her toy box for the perfect accessory for August, our boy dog, to wear. ;o)

{below}  August, not too sure about being in her babydoll’s high chair – Brielle getting close, trying to talk him into liking it. ;o)

{below}  love between Brielle and Auggy.  He’s such a good little dog putting up with her dressing him up.

{below}  I saw Ty & B together on Tuesday afternoon reading and grabbed my camera since they were perfect for this ‘let’s get close’ theme. Brielle reading to Ty one of her favorite books since she was a baby.  This was also Ty’s favorite book.  When he was 15 months old he wouldn’t sleep in his crib without this book with him.  We always handed it to him turned to his favorite page.  That page is very worn now.  We’ll never get rid of it – it’s so special to both kids.

Now check out Kara Jo’s  project 26 ‘view from up here’ post – Kara Jo Memphis Newborn and Child Photographer and continue to click through the  links to see the whole circle.  Oh and guess what?!   We have a new member – Jessica Drossin – one of my favorite people. Check back again in 2 weeks for our next theme.


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Bobbi-leeFebruary 10, 2012 - 7:59 am

Gorgeous!! Love this, you are so talented!

NatashaJanuary 29, 2012 - 10:44 am

Love B’s Alice dress :)

CoriJanuary 28, 2012 - 2:38 pm

Absolutely amazing Kara! I want to check out the gallery on your wall, it looks stunning!!!

EllenJanuary 27, 2012 - 4:10 pm

So, so beautiful!!

MelissaJanuary 24, 2012 - 10:38 am

That first shot is soooo dreamy . . . I love it! Love your daughters Alice dress too :)

LauraJanuary 23, 2012 - 4:43 pm

Love this series. Beautiful set, her lashes are too die for!!

YvonneJanuary 23, 2012 - 12:33 pm

Stunning! I love all of these and oh, how I adore her room!

Beth Ross | Tyler TX PhotographerJanuary 22, 2012 - 9:52 am

These are all so fabulous! I love the wide angle shots. Her room is so pretty. She is gorgeous and the macro shot is AMAZING!!!

julesJanuary 21, 2012 - 1:21 pm

what a wonderful set of images! you create such beautiful art!!!
I adore her magical room and the macro and your lovely work in the frames above the two of them.

Laura...Friend of JulesJanuary 20, 2012 - 7:15 pm

Music is a really nice touch…Totally sets the mood. Photos great! Looking forward to week three.

wendyJanuary 20, 2012 - 7:07 pm

Love that first one so much! And your new look is beautiful. :)

Laurie AnneJanuary 20, 2012 - 5:59 pm

You never dissappoint. Wow. These are so magical and surreal feeling.

Oh my gosh I love your fish eye photos, that first one is amazing!!!!! Love your interpretations this week!

SharonJanuary 20, 2012 - 1:13 pm

They are all amazing and fairytale-like!

Becky EarlJanuary 20, 2012 - 12:29 pm

That first image is just WOW! Love them all, Kara. You rock!

Kristin RachelleJanuary 20, 2012 - 12:04 pm

Love these Kara!! That macro shot is amazing!!!

TammiJanuary 20, 2012 - 11:51 am

That first picture is so moody, vintage and yes haunting. I think it’s beautiful too! All of these are amazing Kara

aubry {phoenix az photographer}January 20, 2012 - 11:51 am

Oh WOWZERS, these are fabulous. i feel so inspired, you rocked this week!

Jessica DrossinJanuary 20, 2012 - 11:30 am

Thank thank you for such generous words. You are the kindest girl.

Jessica DrossinJanuary 20, 2012 - 11:29 am

Oh… I love all of these… ALL of them.

mugsie5January 20, 2012 - 11:17 am


Haleigh RohnerJanuary 20, 2012 - 9:20 am

Beautiful! So reminiscent of childhood. LOVE them!

YvetteJanuary 20, 2012 - 9:14 am

love these! you are an artist indoors and out! what a fairy tale room Brielle has and your wall behind your couch is to die for. come decorate my house.

Misty GJanuary 20, 2012 - 9:11 am

These are fantastic. You have such an eye Kara. Brielle’s room is adorable btw!

Mrs. FunJanuary 20, 2012 - 8:22 am

I love all of these. The macro shot is beautiful.

breezeJanuary 20, 2012 - 8:19 am

Perfect, Perfect, Perfect. Love each shot.

[...] Now head over to my friend Kara’s site to see her pictures. Kara May | Phoenix Family Photographer [...]

{happiness begins when you….}


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NatashaJanuary 30, 2012 - 1:58 am

Love it.

YvonneJanuary 23, 2012 - 12:34 pm


Terry McKaigJanuary 17, 2012 - 8:41 pm

Yeppers! Great quote!

Misty GJanuary 16, 2012 - 9:24 pm

Perfectly written!

MeganJanuary 16, 2012 - 12:38 pm

I too needed to read these words. Thanks for posting this great reminder.

Amber SmithJanuary 16, 2012 - 10:03 am

I needed to read this at this very moment :) thank you

LindsayJanuary 15, 2012 - 4:31 pm

Very good messages Kara.

Shannon SJanuary 15, 2012 - 2:53 pm

Great reminders of what matters!

DannaJanuary 15, 2012 - 2:09 pm

such truth in these words! Everyone needs to remember this. xox

Stacy McMahonJanuary 15, 2012 - 12:44 am

I think everyone needs to read these and try to live by those words. Thank you Kara.

Kristin CookJanuary 14, 2012 - 7:49 pm

thank you. needed that :)

ChelseyJanuary 14, 2012 - 5:49 pm

Love it, Kara. So true. Very catchy too (“comparisons are destructive. choose to be productive”).