Photo Editing Course|The Essential Guide to Photoshop

Photo Editing Tips|The Essential Guide to Photoshop


(*This post will contain affiliate links)

I’m a photographer, but I still have a lot to learn about the post-processing phase of editing my own photos. I choose to edit my own photos, as opposed to outsourcing editing services, because I have more creative control on the direction and look of the final product. Outsourcing isn’t a bad thing, but if you are looking to save money in the long run and want to learn to edit your own photos for creative control, online web courses are an excellent start to learning how to create your own beautiful photos.

I personally use, Photoshop CC 2015 and I’ve had a little under 4 year’s experience using it, but I still have a lot to learn about the usage of the different tools, effects, and actions in the editing phase. However, I have learned a lot thus far, but only because I continued my photography knowledge by utilizing my sources, which are books, videos and online courses.

If you’ve ever struggled with learning a new editing program, the editing process and curating of your photos, this online course from Craftsy will extend your knowledge on editing with Photoshop. Craftsy is an online service that offers online classes for creatives like you and me.

They are currently offering, The Essential Guide to Photoshop Course. Craftsy is offering this course to my readers for 50% off the Original Price $49,99 to $24.99.  This offer will be good from 3/20 to 3/28/16 @11:59pm MT

About the Course:

The Instructor of the course is Skott Chandler, an award-winning photographer and teacher. He has exhibited throughout the United States, France, Hong Kong and Switzerland.  He has taught Art Institute of Colorado and the Denver School of Photography.

The price is great and there is a lot to learn from taking The Essential Guide to Photoshop Course. Here’s what you’ll need: A computer, Adobe Photoshop® and Adobe Bridge®. The skill level for the course is beginner.

The Essential Guide to Photoshop Course Benefits:

“Watch classes on your own schedule: wherever, whenever you want.

Your access never expires.

100% money back guarantee.

The Essential Guide to Photoshop The Course Offers:

“14 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access

Class materials, including helpful keyboard shortcuts

Hours of close-up instruction and Answers from Skott in our virtual classroom”


I will be taking the course this week as well to refresh my editing skills. Share your experience and comment below on how you benefited from taking The Essential Guide to Photoshop.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I receive a percentage if you purchase through my link.  If you do, thank you for your support. Although this post contains affiliate links, all of my opinions are my own and were not persuaded by the company in anyway.

Will you be taking the course? What are you using Photoshop for?

Blogging ? Photography? Hobby?

The Essential Guide to Photoshop Course. Craftsy is offering this course to my readers for 50% off the Original Price $49,99 to $24.99.

This offer will be good from 3/20 to 3/28/16 @11:59pm


How To Take The Best Self Portrait|Self Portraits Tips for Bloggers

How To Take the

Best Self Portrait

Self-portraits are the one way you can express yourself that you have complete control over. Whether you’re showing off an outfit of the day, or wanting to add photos to your website, these tips on how to take the best self-portrait will help you along the way.

What type of camera should I use for my Self Portrait?

I use aNikon D5200a Nikon D3100 DSLR (previous camera) for my portraits. I have an 18-55mm kit lens, a 50mm 1.8 lens, and a 55-200mm lens. The best lens for portraits would be the 50 mm 1.8, because it gives the best bokeh (depth of field-blurred background), but the kit lens would be fine to use as well. As far as DSLRs go, I would recommend the Nikon D3100 DSLR or the Canon Rebel T3i DSLR. They are both reasonably priced and are the equivalent of each other in rank.

Point & Shoot Cameras are great as well and there are a lot of good ones to choose from. I would highly recommend any point and shoot that is above 12 MP, because of the high print quality and computer screen quality.  The Canon Power Shot SX170 IS Digital Camera or the Nikon COOLPIX L820 Digital Camera.

What type of lighting should I use for my Self Portrait?

The best way to shoot a Self Portrait is to have great lighting. I would definitely recommend shooting outdoors because the more natural the better and the light is more appealing. The best times would be during the day, preferably the golden hour (6-9 am 3-5 pm). If you can’t shoot during those times, you can shoot in the shade to avoid the direct sunlight that can wash out your picture. The image will look a lot better after you edit them if you choose to.

If you shoot indoors, that’s great! Natural light, once again, is the best option for lighting. An open window or open door can provide you with the best light. If you lack the natural light you need to take indoor portraits, you can use photography lighting. The best way is to use the 3 point lighting system. This will help you achieve beautiful lighting.

How can I shoot my Self Portrait?

You can take your Self Portrait on your own by using a tripod and setting the self-timer or use a wireless remote trigger. Make sure to shoot from different angles with different expressions. Having lots of options to choose from will help you to select the best photos from your photo shoot.

Where should I shoot my Self Portrait?

Choosing an interesting location will help make your Self Portrait  stand out. Also, make sure that the background isn’t cluttered or full of people, cars or other distracting elements. You want your self-portrait to be more about you, not the background. There are a few options to shoot your self-portrait such as parks, school campuses, and urban/city landscape. EXTRA TIP: Try not to shoot in public areas alone for safety reasons, but if you have to, shoot in well-lit, populated areas during the day.  If you can, shoot a Self Portrait on your own turf—home or apartment, do it! I’ve gotten some of my best photos in my backyard.

Lastly, show your best styled outfit for your Self Portrait and show a style you’re comfortable with. If you ever choose a style that isn’t part of your brand or preference, it will convey in your photos. Choose wisely and have fun with it! Don’t take your shoot seriously! Relax, have fun and be yourself! Your personality will shine through!

 I hope these tips helped you on how to take the best self portrait. I will go more in depth on the cameras settings that would be best used for self portraits in a future post.

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Tell Me…

Have you ever taken a self portrait? What were some of the problems you experienced, if any?

Book Review | How To Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul)


I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been approached by one of my favorite bloggers, Ruth Soukup, of Living Well Spending Less, about her first published book, How To Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul). I have been following her blog for a long time and she is truly a great woman. I started following her on her sister site, Saving Well Spending Less, when I was learning all about extreme couponing. Ruth does it all as a wife, mother and business woman and I knew that her book would be worth reading.

Full Book Review

How To Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul)

Online Book Description:

“Whether you’ve been blogging for years or just weeks, How to Blog For Profit offers solid guidance for writing great content, creating compelling images, capturing viral growth, and maximizing revenue. It is an invaluable tool for experienced and novice bloggers alike, explaining not only what it takes to create an authentic, successful, and profitable blog, but how to get there.”

My Thoughts

  • Ruth’s book encourages you to stay true to yourself and your passion for blogging as opposed to being money driven. You will be able to gain a lot more positive effects from this.
  • Ruth’s book also helps you to get a clear purpose for your blog and the area you can really gain profit from.
  • Ruth not only teaches you about blogging,  but also informs you about SEO optimization, organizing your website and creatives ways to build your blog and brand.
  • Overall, How To Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) is a great read. It’s a concise, informative, and educational narrative about your future in blogging.
  • My Amazon Review of the Book

I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to expand their blog and make a profit from it

Follow the links to pay a visit to Ruth Soukup’s blog  and tell her “The Lovely Photog” sent you

 Share and Purchase Your Copy Today!

PlutoCase Product Review and Giveaway Contest

I absolute love taking photos and I love different ways I can showcase my photographs. One of the ways that I thought I would be able to showcase them was by customizing a phone case. Luckily, I know of a really cool company called PlutoCase.

I couldn’t wait to choose which pictures I would actually upload, but I wanted them to represent my photography style, as well as the things I love.

Here are the photos I chose:

1025391_10151493034723173_349371107_oPink Flower_DSC0706


ABOUT PlutoCase


I have been using my PlutoCase phone cases for the past month and I have enjoyed each and every one of them. I chose to use a different case everyday to check the durability, strength, and effectiveness of these cases. The website was also very easy to navigate. Initially, the site would not allow me to enter any data in the ordering fields, but once I notified the company, they were able to fix the issue immediately.

 There was fast delivery for these my customized phone cases. They came in the mail about a week from ordering and that was only because I ordered it on a Thursday. If you place your order on a Monday, they would probably reach you by Friday, if not before. They were individually wrapped, protected. and in one piece, which I was thankful for.

I have been wearing each customized phone case on my Samsung Galax S5 and have enjoyed these cases thoroughly. I was so impressed by the PlutoCase company and how well my customized phone cases came out. They are the best I’ve seen for such a low cost.  I’ve had a few people ask  about my customized PlutoCase phone cases and I would definitely recommend them. I absolutely love how they turned out!

Here are shots of my phone cases:


COST: $33 Retail Value


iPhone 4/5c/5s/5/6 cases  & Samsung Galaxy S3/S4/S5 cases


The phone case is sturdy and durable. I have dropped my phone since using these cases a few time and have not had any cracks or breaks.

The photos that were used to customize my case, were virtually and almost perfectly the same color and quality.

The phone case was easy to place on my phone.

The phone case is slim and sleek.

Very high quality and durable.


The phone case gloss option is a bit slippery.

If you use your phone like I do, (which is a lot), the phone will slip out of your hand quite a bit.

Although the pictures I chose to upload turned out great, you have to be careful with the sizing and coloring of the pictures you choose. There is a wrap option for “wrapping” the picture around the phone case.

The matte phone cases tend to have a darker constrast or tint to them, so choose your photo wisely.


Definitely worth the purchase. These phone cases are high quality at a low cost. You can’t beat that!

They are offering my readers and viewers Promo Codes

for a Free Customized PlutoCase!

Enter the Giveaway Here

There will be two winners and they will be announced on December 17th!

You will have until December 31st to use your Free Promo Code to receive your

customized phone case from PlutoCase

 *FYI-Payment information is requested at check out, but no actual purchase or payment is necessary when using a Promo Code.

Shipping is Free on Regular Purchases!

PlutoCase on Facebook

PlutoCase on Twitter

PlutoCase on Instagram

PlutoCase on Google +

PlutoCase on Pinterest

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using PlutoCase.

Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Photography 101 Series| Part II: Understanding Your Camera Mode Settings


Welcome to the second installment of my new

Photography 101 Series: Understanding Your Camera Mode Settings!

This is basic beginner photography knowledge and tips that can help you on your photography journey—whether you are a blogger, photographer or hobbyist.

This series will be broken down in  3 parts and the first post can be found here of the breakdown of each subject in the series.

(Just In Case You Missed It: Part I: Understanding Exposure)

So lets begin…


Part II: Understanding Camera Mode Settings

  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Macro/Close-Up
  • Sport/Action
  • Night Scene
  • Movie Mode


Portrait Mode- This camera mode setting is best used when you want to focus on a single subject for a close up and personal portrait. A DSLR camera will generally choose a larger aperture (small f stop number), so that the focus will be more on the foreground or subject, than the background.

Landscape Mode-This camera mode setting is best used to capture wide open spaces for photographing nature, landscape and buildings. The camera will use a smaller aperture (large f stop number) to include as much of the foreground and background possible. This will also give you a large depth of field to help capture a wide scene of your landscape.

Macro/Close Up-This camera mode setting is best used when you want to photograph something (small or large)  up close. It’s generally used to shoot flowers, insects, and other objects. The camera will give you a very narrow or small depth of field, and you may need to use your tripod in order to keep your focus on the object. The flash or a lot of natural light is beneficial when shooting in this mode, as it will help to increase the focus on your object.

Sport/Action-This camera mode setting is best used when photographing moving subjects. Best to use when photographing a game or children, this setting helps to freeze the action by increasing the  shutter speed.

Night Mode- This camera mode setting is best used for night or low light situations. The camera will use a slower shutter speed to capture more of the background settings and will also use a flash to get the foreground details. Using a tripod will also help in decreasing blur when in this mode. Blur can be used to your advantage if used in party settings, because the blurring of party lights or dance floors in the background, add a cool effect.

Movie Mode-This camera mode setting allows you to record video (picture and sound) and offers a variety of settings to do it in. 144240, 360, 640, 720, 1080 resolution settings are the most common settings depending on the type of camera you have.

Cameras come with a variety of camera mode settings. The other camera mode settings might include, Museum, Party/Indoor, Beach, Snow, Cloudy Etc . The key is to use the correct settings in the correct moment.

Tell Me…

What camera mode setting do you use the most?

Photography 101 Series| Part I: Understanding Exposure


Welcome to the first week of my new

Photography 101 Series: Mastering Your Camera Settings!

This is basic beginner photography knowledge and tips that can help you on your photography journey—whether you are a blogger, photographer or hobbyist.

This series will be broken down in  3 parts and the first post can be found here of the breakdown of each subject in the series.

So lets begin…

Part I: Understanding Exposure

  • ISO
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed

 The three elements (exposure triangle), ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed help to make up the main components of exposure in your camera. Exposure meaning the amount of light measured in units that allows it to reach the electronic sensor in a digital camera.

What is ISO?

ISO measures how sensitive the camera is to light. In most cameras, ISO speeds are 100, 200, 400 and 800. These speeds can increase with the level of camera that you purchase (point and shoot vs dslr).

*Quick Tip- Lower ISO= Less Grain/Noise Higher ISO=More Grain/Noise

What is Aperture?

Aperture controls how much light enters the camera through the lens. Aperture allows you to be able to adjust the depth of field in a photo. Aperture is my favorite mode on my camera, because I love taking macro (up close) shots.  Depth of field determines how much of the subject is in focus and how much the background will be blurred.

*Quick Tip- Shallow Depth of Field= f1.4-f5.6 ( More Light+ Blurred Background) Deep Depth of Field=f8-32 ( Less Light+ Background in Focus)

What is Shutter Speed?

Shutter Speed (exposure time) is how long the light entering through the lens (aperture) exposes the sensor. The shutter speed is very important, especially when shooting moving subjects. The shutter speed completely determines the motion blur or sharpness of the subject in your picture. Shutter speeds range from 1/30-1/4000 fractures of a second.

*Quick TipSlower Shutter Speed=Slows Motion (1/30 or slower) Faster Shutter Speed=Freezes Action (1/250 or more)

So that was a quick review of understanding exposure. I hope this gives you a better understanding of learning to use the light to your advantage in photography.

I’ve also found a great infographic with all of the important information for understanding exposure.

Exposure-Guide2 Filmmaker IQSource: Filmmaker IQ

Tell Me…

What type of camera do you use?

Will you try and adjust your settings on your own now that you understand exposure?

More information on Camera Exposure here

Photography 101 Series| Mastering Your Camera Settings


In the upcoming weeks, I will be posting my new series, Photography 101: Mastering Your Camera Settings

This series will be for new or beginner photographers who are interested in getting to know their point and shoot and dslr cameras

a little better.

I’m excited and hope that this Photography 101 series will shed some light on using your camera as a blogger, hobbyist or professional photographer.

Here are the parts to the series.

They will be linked as they are posted so that you can come back and refer to this page as an index.

Part I: Understanding Exposure

  • ISO
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed

Part II: Understanding Camera Mode Settings

  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Macro/Close-Up
  • Sport/Action
  • Night Scene
  • Movie Mode

Part III : Manual Mode Settings

  • Manual
  • Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority


This is just the beginning, hopefully I can have more projects and tasks to share with you guys!

Top 10 Most Popular Posts in 2013


It’s nearing the end of 2013, and I wanted to reflect on 10 of the most popular posts on my blog.

Each post has a different subject and appeal and I feel that are very reflective of the type of content I would like to have on the blog.

Here are the Top 10 Most Popular Posts in 2013:

1. How To Take The Best Self Portrait|Self Portraits Tips for Bloggers

Blog Post-9
2. Pink Banana Smoothie


3. Natural Hair Pre Poo Recipe

4. Easy DIY Elastic Hair Tie Tutorial


5. Farmer’s Market Shopping Tips


6. Sauteed Green Beans


7. Easy & Delicious Strawberry Jam Recipe


8. Building Your Online Presence


9. Book Review & Special Offer| How To Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul)


10. 7 Tips on How To Have A Successful Photo Shoot

What I’ve noticed about the Top 10 Most Popular Posts and what made them so popular:

  • Visually appealing
  • Very specific tasks, lists and tips
  • They were all shared on Pinterest—which increased the post views significantly

Through this end of the year reflection, I’ve found what works for my blog and what doesn’t. This will truly help me to see what type of content to bring to the blog in new year. I’m excited about what 2014 will bring and I will continue to try and make my blog better.

Tell Me…

Have you reflected on your blog over the year?

Feel free to share your stories or posts about your blog and it’s journey for the year down below

Building My Photography Business|10 Things I’ve Learned My First Year As A Professional Photographer



Top 10 Things I’ve Learned My First Year as a Professional Photographer

This post is way overdue, but I figured that as I go along in photography journey, I can update you guys on my progress.

As some of you may know, I am a professional photographer and I have been booking clients for a year. I’ve learned so much so far and I would love to share what I learned with other photographers or those who may be interested in photography.

I am self-taught and unfortunately have no mentor, so I want to share information about photography tips for new professionals. This series will be called, “Building My Photography Business” and this is the first post in the series.

It’s so important to learn from our mistakes, so these are the Top 10 Things I’ve Learned My First Year as a Professional Photographer.

1. Under Promise Over Deliver—Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Once you’ve said it to the client, THEY WILL REMEMBER AND HOLD YOU TO IT.

2. Make sure you scout locations and check them out before shooting there—You have to make sure there aren’t any rules against photography, dangers to the client, and that lighting and areas are good for a photo shoot.

3. Keep in constant communication with clientNothings worse than your client not knowing your time frame for previews, editing and delivery of images.

4. Set up in person meetings—Personal meetings will allow you to do just that–get personal with your clients so that they can get to know you. Once they photo shoot date arrives, they will be more relaxed and have an idea of what’s to come. Also, the formal procedures can be taken care of such as the deposit, contract signing, and introduction to the client guide.

5. Go over, word for word, contracts and pricing—Clients won’t understand the legal jargon placed in your contracts unless you explain it to them. Handing them contracts without going over them will only create confusion and it will come back to bite you in the “you know what.” Make your clients KNOWLEDGEABLE and educate them on your services and contracts.

6. Make sure taxes are taken care of all aroundPretty self-explanatory. The last thing you want is the tax man knocking on your door for an audit. Keep all receipts for your business and make sure you understand the tax rules for your state.

7. Price yourself according to your time + expenses—The market is saturated with photographers who underprice themselves. I was guilty of this when I first began. Now I understand that I need to charge for my talent, time and business expenses. You will be amazed at how much you’re selling yourself short. Charge what you are worth. *Bonus-Pricing Calculator

8. Market through several forms of communication such as email, social media, in person, over the phone—Shooting friends and family are great, but it won’t keep your business going. You have to get out there and meet people and make new connections.

9. Don’t sell yourself short—Don’t allow people to talk you down in price. Stand your ground. If they don’t agree with your price, apologize, but let them know you aren’t the photographer for them and recommend or refer them to someone else. It’s hard at first, but trust me; you’ll find someone who is willing to meet your price.

10. Choose your clients—You are allowed to not accept every client who comes your way. If you’re a professional photographer and you are trying to build a brand, this is the most important rule of them all. Choosing the wrong clients can ruin your reputation. Choose wisely. *Bonus-Book Yourself Solid (Teaches how important it is to choose the right clients for your business)

Want to learn more about the client-photographer relationship in my “Building My Photography Business Series”? Take a look at my post about it here