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.

Blog Post-9 

Tell Me…

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

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

Your Channel or Mine YouTube Hop| #YCOMHop Link Up

Welcome Vloggers to the 6th Week of the Your Channel Or Mine YouTube Hop!
The Hop made just for your to share and connect with other Vloggers. Each week The #YCOMHop Hosts have such fun interacting with and getting glimpse of your world through your voice by watching and supporting your videos.


Your Hosts for the #YCOMHop:




Mrs Tee






#YCOMHop Guidelines

1) Visit, View, Comment and Subscribe to your Hosts
2) For the Channel LinkUp be sure to link Directly to your YouTube Channel URL (
3) For the Channel Hop you can Link Directly to 2 Recent Vlogs or Videos
4) Visit, View, Comment and Subscribe to your fellow Vloggers Links
5) Grab our button up above and let others know about #YCOMHop and where you share your Vlogs each week
Simple and easy, right? We want to connect, share and introduce a few new Channels and Vloggers and have a bit of Channel Hopping fun while doing it.

~ Now Let’s Get This Hop Started ~


Please read all #YCOMHop Guidelines.
Hosts reserve the right to remove any unrelated links.


Please read all #YCOMHop Guidelines.
Hosts reserve the right to remove any unrelated links.


How To Take the Best Moon Photos




The moon is one of the night’s glorious spectacles. Besides the stars, it’s one of the most captured elements of the night. Here in the last year, we’ve been lucky to have had a Super Moon (Super Full Moon) in July, August and September.  If you’re unfamiliar with Super Moons, they occur when a Full or New Moon, coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to the Earth. They typically happen once or twice a year.  

I have been trying to perfect my approach of taking pictures of the moon and I think I finally have it down. I’m going to break down my camera settings, equipment and editing I did to achieve my best photo of the moon.  

 August Super Moon

The above photo is the photoI took of this year’s Super Moon in August. It was the biggest and brightest Super Moon of the year. I took this photo, the same way I took this month’s photo as far as my camera settings go, and I will have to say it didn’t require much work, just attention to detail.  


Equipment I Used: 

Nikon 5200 

55-200mm Lens 


You can use a point and shoot camera, DSLR, or from what I’ve seen, an IPhone with external lenses. You’ll just need a camera and lens that will allow you to capture the moon from far away and has intense magnification for details. You also have the option of not using a tripod, as I took the August Moon picture without one. A tripod ensures that you will not have any camera shake or vibration from shooting the picture, but I decided to use one this month and it was way more convenient. Also, be sure to check the dates and times for the moon phases. Just like the sun, the moon has moonrise and moonset times. You can check the dates and times here.  

Tips For Adjusting Your Camera Settings: 

Shoot in Manual and RAW format to avoid compression and true to life color and size 

Adjust your exposure for the moon by using center weighted or spot metering 

Adjust your aperture to allow more light in (Recommended up to f11)      

Adjust your ISO for the specific time 

Adjust your shutter speed for a faster exposure time 

*  You can use bracketing on your camera if it’s available to capture photos in succession with different exposure levels to figure out which exposure is right for you 

*  Underexposing your photo (-2) is recommended since the moon will be really bright during the Super Moon phase 

SOURCE David Peterson, Digital Photo Secrets 


Tips for the Location Settings: 

Moon photos are best at horizon levels 

Surrounding areas with a city or landscape background are ideal 

Make sure there is little to no cloud cover 

I live in an apartment complex, so I little to work with as far as my surroundings go. I’m surrounded my apartment buildings that are pretty tall. So, what I did was set my tripod up on my porch and tilted my camera above the buildings. If you have a chance to shoot the moon in a better outdoor location, I would definitely recommend it.  

My Camera Settings: 

200 mm focal length 

ISO Hi7 (10159) 

1/1250 Shutter Speed 

f/14 Aperture 

Center Weighted Exposure 

No Flash 


It took about 10 pictures to achieve the final look of the moon, If you adjust your settings as you go along and find the best setting for your camera, you can capture the moon in all of it’s glory. I would usually sharpen the photo, change the color, and change the orientation of the photo, but I chose not to edit the photo to show that you can achieve your best looking photo of the moon with the right camera settings.  


Tell Me… 

Did you capture the moon this year? Leave your link down below 





Mood Dates To Look Out For:  


October 8, Full Hunter’s Moon, 6:51 a.m. — the remaining “blood moon”  

November 6, Full Beaver Moon, 5:23 p.m. 

December 6, Full Cold Moon, 7:27 a.m. 

September 28, Full Blood Moon 


(New Moons) in 2015 January 20, February 18, March 20,  

August 29, September 28, October 27.  

“Blood Moons” (Super Full Moons)  September 28 

Full Moons in 2015 January 5, February 3, March 5, April 4, May 4, June  

2, July 2, July 31 (Blue Moon), August 14, September 13, October 13, November 11, and  

December 11.”  

SOURCE Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times

My Child’s First Camera + Photo Tips to Teach Them


 If you have been subscribed to my blog for awhile, you know that I’m passionate about photography. I have been a long time fan of Courtney from Click It Up A Notch, who is a mother and blogger and loves photography just as much as I do. She has great tips and contributors (photographers) who have been extremely helpful in my photography journey.One of her posts was called Photography for Kids: Activities They Can Do! and I absolutely loved it! I have a little one who is at the precious age of curiosity and being a big ball of energy. At 2 years old, she loves when mommy has her camera and she pretends to take photos all the time with my DSLR camera. After I saw this post, I felt it was only natural to get my daughter her first camera.

The Lovely Photog's Daughter with DSLR

This is when I knew she needed her own camera 🙂

After viewing several cameras on the internet for kids, I found this VTech Kidizoom Camera to be the the right fit for my little toddler. It was the perfect size for her. My reasoning behind purchasing this toddler camera, as my child’s first camera, was that it was inexpensive, durable and had a variety of options compared to the other cameras available for children. It was also featured on Click It Up A Notch and I loved the look of it.



VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect The Lovely Photog

Here are the online specs if you’re interested in purchasing:

Price: $26.95 (Amazon)

  • Real 1.3 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, with 3 included games
  • 128 MB internal memory stores up to 1000 photos, micro SD card slot for memory expansion
  • Take photos with funny stamps, borders, or silly photo effects
  • Video recording with sound, also voice recorder
  • PC and Mac compatible in mass storage mode–connect to your computer to store and send photos; USB cable included

My daughter absolutely loves this camera. We had it for about 6 months before we needed to change the batteries, but it is a great little first camera for her. The pixels are low for this camera and we’ve realized it takes better photos outdoors, but for a 2 year old who doesn’t care about pixels it’s just fine. We have tried video with it as well and the sound quality is pretty good. The shutter button is easy for her to use and press down. She knows how to turn it on and off. We couldn’t have found a better camera than this VTech Kidizoom Camera.



On our first go ’round with the camera, I let her take photos of whatever she wanted inside of the house. I told her that she could take pictures of her dad and I. I also told her that she could take pictures of her toys and whatever else she wanted too. We then got a chance to take the camera outside, and she really explored. She took photos of the trees, bushes, and flowers. It was so much watching her explore and get excited about taking photos of the things she liked.


As you can see from the indoor photos, they are dark and there is blurriness from her moving and shaking the camera as she takes her photos. She has so much creativity already. She has far away shots, close ups, abstract and even food photography in her first collection of photos lol : )


The outdoors photos were even better because of the sunlight which helped to brighten the pictures up. I took the last two on the first row of the photo gallery above, just to see what they camera could do in steady hands and was very impressed. She took the rest of the photos and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She took her first landscape photos of the sky, flowers and trees. She’s pretty awesome with her first camera now and I look forward to seeing her learn more.

My (toddler) photo tips for your child’s first camera would be…

  • Teach them to photograph colors and shapes
  • Teach them to photograph toys and things they love
  • Teach them about being patient with their camera
  • Teach them about being still with the camera to make sure they get the picture (literally)
  • And to never get it wet 🙂

I took a couple of pointers from the Photography for Kids: Activities They Can Do! blog post, and one of her suggestions was to create a blog post of your child’s pictures and you have the choice to make it private to share with family and friends. I’m also looking forward to creating a story book and photo album from the pictures she’s taken. I shared some of the photos that we’ve taken with the camera, but I did create a private blog for her, and as she grows and continues to use her first camera, we can all share the pictures and look back on all of the memories created from them.I encourage you to take photos of your little one and the camera while they are shooting. It’s going to be so memorable to be able to look back and have her see herself and the pictures she took.


Tell Me…

Have you ever tried to let your kids take photos? If not, do you think you would try it now?