Monthly Archives: January 2012

{‘Shop Talk’ – new bi-weekly series}

I’m so excited to start this new series on my blog. This year I’m dedicating more attention to my blog – so in doing that I have some fun things lined up.  I’ve wanted to do posts for a while now, answering questions I often get in e-mails from other photographers.  But my ‘Shop Talk’ series is going to encompass so much more.  It’s going to be ANYTHING related to photography.  So one week it might focus on photoshop, another on fun photo products available, sessions and another on industry talk.  It will span a huge range and hopefully answer some of the questions I get a lot.  Also, some of the topics will be targeted to those very new to the industry, while others will delve into more advanced topic. Some weeks, you may be thinking ‘really?  um, everyone knows that.’  But when we started out, Photoshop was a foreign language so some people won’t know how to manipulate a photo’s midtones, RGB color channels, or know about certain keyboard short-cuts, copyright information, lens speed, camera care, plug-ins, camera functions, back-focus button, what camera accessories are available, ideas for prints (gifts, display, albums, ect.), opinions on products, how to handle a difficult session and the list goes on.   If you have questions you want answered or topics you want I would love to hear from you.  Just leave me a comment with the topic you want discussed or a question you need answers to.  I’ll try to get to all of them as time allows.  Thanks so much for checking this out!

Most of you know that direct ‘dodging and burning’ to your image is destructive to the pixels.  So to protect the integrity of your photo use a new layer to dodge and burn.

First, add a new layer – fill to 50% Gray and change the blending mode to ‘Soft Light’.

Using a soft brush, paint the areas you want to be darkened or lightened toggling between black and white.

Merge the two layers when your happy with the results and no pixels are harmed.

Final results!


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TonyaJune 7, 2012 - 6:25 pm

LOVE your Shop Talk! Thank You for being so generous with your knowledge!!! If you ever have time I would love to know more about sharpening an image!

Teresa DavisMarch 9, 2012 - 8:50 am

I’m a huge fan of your work! So inspiring and beautiful! I’m really excited about this series and look forward to everything you post. Thanks for the dodging and burning tip. I would also like to know more about creating a creamy skin tone. Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing!

LindaFebruary 29, 2012 - 8:41 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this, it is so simple but such a big help. They say it is the little things that matters and that is the case with this little sliver of knowledge you have bestowed upon us.

AnnetteFebruary 10, 2012 - 9:24 am

I love this! I made it an action that I know I’m gonna use all the time now!

YvonneJanuary 23, 2012 - 12:43 pm

Great advice! Can’t wait to read more as the year goes on.

Krista QueeneyJanuary 19, 2012 - 7:51 am

Hi Kara,
I found your blog a few months ago and have become a fan! I’ve been finally learning Photoshop in depth over the past year and psyched to see your post! I will follow your blog and excited to learn from you!

Misty GJanuary 16, 2012 - 9:25 pm

I’m going to be glued to this series Kara. Thank you!

Sandy KeysJanuary 16, 2012 - 10:04 am

My biggest problem is getting creamy skin tones. They always seem to be too orange/red. I don’t want my subject to look white, but do want their skin to look creamy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Been a fan for years! :)

RachelJanuary 15, 2012 - 7:21 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! I would love some advice for guiding clients to not wait until the last minute their proofing gallery is up to order their products. I have two full-time jobs, so for me, it is very difficult to sit down with them in order for them to make their selections. Thank you for your inspiration!

Melissa RoweJanuary 14, 2012 - 9:39 am

I’m a huge fan and I’m so excited about this series! There are so many more things I need to learn about this business. I’m excited to see everything you post. Thank you for sharing!!

Stacy McMahonJanuary 13, 2012 - 9:31 pm

So inspiring. I can tell I’m going to love your series.

Brittany Stucki - Framed PhotographyJanuary 13, 2012 - 7:34 pm

I do a lot of doge and burning — I actually never thought to use a gray layer. Thanks for the tip! Can’t wait to see more. Your work is beautiful! I never leave comments but I take a look often.

Tammy FlynnJanuary 13, 2012 - 6:47 pm

Love this photo shop talk blog of yours Kara. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us!

Becky LaurenJanuary 13, 2012 - 5:55 pm

I need this!!! I don’t have a website but have been taking pictures for hire for a little over 2 years. I would love to learn more about photoshop in general. I know how to use some things but it’s not easy. And tips would be greatly appreciated.

Jessica LJanuary 13, 2012 - 5:26 pm

You are awesome!!!! I can’t wait to stay on top of this and see what you post.

Haleigh RohnerJanuary 13, 2012 - 7:44 pm

Kara… you rock! You are such a generous soul! HUGS!

{girly girls, balloons & ‘trendie treasures’ newest dresses}

So girly!  That’s what I love about these dresses!  They’re one of Trendie Treasures latest creations.  Isn’t she talented?  I’ve been working with the designer/owner of Trendie Tresures for a few years now and I always ‘ooh and aah’ over her newest creations.    I love the soft ruffles, the flowers and the pretty Spring colors too choose from (more colors on her site)!  Brielle and her friend got to play in them for pictures – they were so cute running around being silly together!  If you haven’t checked out Trendie Treasures,  you’re missing out. Her shop is full of colorful, fun and very girly designs.  Become a fan on Facebook for her newest creations, promotions and the newest happenings with her business.

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Luke CJanuary 22, 2012 - 12:49 pm

Great post, Beautiful images and expressions. LOVE the pinky promise shot…

Terry McKaigJanuary 17, 2012 - 8:43 pm

Brielle is a little mini you…… these!

ReemaJanuary 14, 2012 - 7:07 am

Thanks Kara for the wonderful pics, they are all AMAZING reflection of how much fun girls had with my dresses. You are very talented, I’m honored to be working with you:)

Sasha HollowayJanuary 13, 2012 - 7:34 am

Can you say INSPIRATION. WOW ..

Marion PeetenJanuary 13, 2012 - 3:44 am

So lovely!! Beautifull colors!

sherry bolesJanuary 13, 2012 - 3:33 am

A post full of beautiful…beautiful images, beautiful girls and beautiful clothing! :)

HenleyJanuary 12, 2012 - 9:59 pm

You! Need! To! Do! Workshops!!!!!! Just sayin

mugsie5January 12, 2012 - 6:11 pm

2 gorgeous girls in wonderful clothing

Theresa BJanuary 12, 2012 - 6:02 pm

Pure 100% girl, spring, adorable. I don’t know how you do it. Do you offer mentoring?

Becky GailJanuary 12, 2012 - 5:45 pm

Swooning!!! Speachless

Kellie ConlonJanuary 12, 2012 - 2:38 pm

You inspire me!

SharonJanuary 12, 2012 - 2:33 pm

Oh I’m in love! What a great series of photos.

It’s still Christmas in our house {blush}

I know, I’m embarrassed to admit this but based on a FB post I made, I’m not alone {whew!}.  Our tree is still up and will be coming down this week – hopefully.  Things have just been too crazy to ‘de-Christmas’ the house, plus I kind of like it.   I turn on the light when it’s pitch black out in the mornings as the kids are eating their breakfast.  It’s soothing and the kids like it too.  Although, Tyler did say this morning ‘Don’t you think we should take the tree down soon Mom?’.  He’s right.  And if a child says that….I probably need to listen ;-)


So since it’s still Christmas-y here I thought I’d do a teeny holiday post recap.

Below is our holiday card… only so much I can do with self-timer  for the family one lol.  The kids look a little gangsa with their non-smiles here.  But we got it done in 15 minutes then they got to run around and play.  Reward!

We did a lot of baking!!  I became addicted to these yummy cookies and have to work them off my thighs now ;-)  Recipe below too!

We made gingerbread houses.  I have more pics but to be honest the houses looked like candy threw up all over them so they weren’t very picturesque  but they were made with loving little hands :) and I’ll have the pictures forever to remember.

A gift we spent most of the month working on…for both sets of Grandparents.  It’s a handmade book with interviews, summary of key events in 2011 as remembered by both kids, pictures, drawings, and other artwork.  Such a fun gift!!

August, our dog got tortured with the various holiday costume we had for him.  He’s since forgiven us.

We did the Polar Express in Williams, AZ with friends!  It was also, crazy sweater themed (within our group of 44) so below you may spy some envy-worthy sweaters.  My husbands, on loan from his friend Po, lit up.  It was lovely!


Brielle’s Letter to Santa – left for him on Christmas Eve.  The spelling was all her own so don’t judge ;-)


Brielle always rearranging the ornaments I have on the tree.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are off to a great New Year!  :)

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HenleyJanuary 13, 2012 - 1:16 am

I find this post very ‘pintersting’!! Everything about it.

mugsie5January 12, 2012 - 9:08 am

great post

Becky GailJanuary 12, 2012 - 1:44 am

I needed this post. My tree is still up too but not nearly as beautiful as yours I’d keep that thing up all year if I were you. I wish I could do bokeh like you the butterflies are so beautiful. And that letter made my night. Keep posting Kara May!!

ChelseyJanuary 12, 2012 - 12:12 am

That is the best letter I’ve read all day :) & don’t worry, growing up we always had our tree & other Christmas tidings up well into the New Year – sometimes that’s just the way it goes! ;) Happy New Year!

KristinJanuary 11, 2012 - 11:19 pm

Loved it… I needed a Kara fix this evening to get my creativity going. =) Happy, happy New Year!

Cori HendersonJanuary 11, 2012 - 11:10 pm

So beautiful! I love your Christmas tree pictures!!! I don’t blame you for wanting to keep it up longer:)

KatieJanuary 11, 2012 - 9:50 pm

I must try that recipe of yours. And your post is wonderful and full of magic. Keep posting, it makes me smile.

Heather AnneJanuary 11, 2012 - 9:32 pm

So much fun packed into one post! Your holiday cards are gorgeous. The bokeh butterfly is surreal, the gift book is genius and your pictures are unbelievable!

{rocky riverbed & autumn colors}

I love this family.  I’ve known them for almost 3 years now and it was fun to have them in front of my camera!  We shot these on pretty winter day – not too cold and not too warm.  This rocky shore with pretty changing leaves on the trees in the background was a beautiful setting.  It’s one of the rare times we ‘see Autumn’ here in the Arizona valley.  Here’s a peek at our session :)

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KristinJanuary 10, 2012 - 2:29 pm

I love that kiss and the boy with the green eyes is just LOVELY!


Kristin CookJanuary 7, 2012 - 11:59 pm

That first shot is perfection…gorgeous!!

cori hendersonJanuary 7, 2012 - 10:12 pm

So beautiful! I love their daughter’s red hair! Absolutely stunning.

mugsie5January 7, 2012 - 8:13 pm

wonderful and such a gorgeous family. You do such fantastic work and people must be thrilled to have you photograph them.

Heather AnneJanuary 7, 2012 - 8:00 pm

Seriously!!!!??? These are amazing! The bw photos are unbelievable. Every one or them are beautiful! I want you to take pics of my family.

Megan KJanuary 7, 2012 - 5:51 pm

Stunning! Arizona can look like that!? Gorgeous. Every image is stunning. You can’t take a bad picture can you?

Pam GodfreyJanuary 7, 2012 - 5:42 pm

Wow Kara…..EVERYTHING about this session is AMAZING! Especially the subjects. They are all gorgeous, but that red hair just steals the show!

Nicole MiaJanuary 7, 2012 - 5:33 pm

Wow gorgeous family! Love your location. Beautiful as always Kara.