Balloons and the new direction for high school seniors

I’m throwing around the idea of possibly making senior photo sessions more than just headshots and letter jackets. What about creating a scene for her – a set that she can be a model for a day with? What about giving them a set of images they will possibly never get to duplicate again – along with the regular headshots and letter jacket poses? Might be fun – might be unique – might be something valued…. could be something as simple, but effective as my latest photo shoot with Stephanie:

Broomfield High School photographer

Broomfield Colorado High School Pictures

High School portraits Broomfield Colorado

High School Pictures Broomfield Co

Broomfield High School Pictures

High School Photographer in Broomfield Co

High School Photographer Broomfield

I welcome your ideas about other photo shoot ‘sets.’

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My niece, Cherie, is always up for a photo shoot and takes direction beautifully. She is one of my favorite people to photograph. She is a senior this year and this is a small selection from her senior portrait session we did yesterday. I added a bit more fashion edge to the shoot and to the post processing for a more high end look. I love high school seniors!  I tried out a few new techniques and poses/props. It’s fun to look back at some of my photo shoots 3 years ago when I started and see how far I’ve come. I grow with each photo shoot and know that I still have a lot to learn! Thank you, Cherie, for always stepping up when I’m ready to try something new!

High School Pictures Broomfield Co

Senior Pictures Broomfield, Colorado

High School Pictures Broomfield Colorado

Senior Pictures Colorado

High Fashion Senior Pictures Colorado

Senior Pictures Broomfield

Senior Pictures Photographer Broomfield Colorado

Edgy Senior Pictures Colorado

High Fashion Senior Pictures

High School Pictures Broomfield Colorado

High School Photographer Colorado

And one smiler for good measure:
Contemporary HIgh School Photographer Colorado


Every once in a while, I am called for professional Headshots in Colorado. I LOVE these sessions. Teresa was as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside and she took my direction beautifully.

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Headshots Denver Colorado

Colorado Headshots Photographer

Colorado Headshots

Photographers in Colorado

Colorado Headshot Photographer




Headshots Colorado | Headshots Photographer Colorado | Denver Headshots Photographer

Themed Photo Shoots

I’m getting into the idea of themed photo shoots. In fact, we have chosen a fun little theme for our up-coming family photos (to be done by Steve Stanton, one of my biggest inspirations in photography)….  you’ll get to see what our chosen theme is at Christmastime when we send out our cards, heh heh….

Anyway, I’m trying to put together a list of themes to use in future sessions: family sessions, engagement sessions, and especially high school senior sessions. Does anyone have any fun ideas? Will you share?! Comment below with your theme ideas and then after I’ve used that theme in a photo shoot, check back and see how your idea did!

In fact, I’ll hold a little contest if we can get over 30 different ideas on here – the person who comes up with the best theme will win a mini-photo shoot with Lilac Photography. The winner will be determined by votes – at least 50 votes must be cast, so, you’ll need to get your friends and family to get on here and comment with their ideas and a vote!

Comment with your theme idea and vote for your fav! I can’t wait to hear from you!

To blur or not to blur

Sometimes a picture just calls for a little something different – something to make it stand out and catch your eye. Creating false blur is a great way to achieve this. I use a professional program from Alien Skin Software that creates a beautiful, natural looking Bokeh, but say you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on blurring an image…  Photoshop is equipped with a number of different blur styles that can easily be used to create artistic images. I’ll give you a couple of examples of what some of the blur styles can do.

Our original image is fairly ‘busy.’ While the textures and colors are pretty sweet, they do take away from the subject a bit. I usually save my ‘faux blur’ for busy images like this, however, you can also use a blur on simple images or even close-ups. The best part is, you get to be creative and keep trying different styles until you find one that fits!

With each of these blurred images (except for the Alien Skin version), I:
1. copied my background layer (ctl+j),
2. applied the blur to the new layer which is now on top (Filter/Blur/[your blur choice] – remember that each blur can be tweaked for a more or less severe look),
3. used the eraser (e) on a soft round brush to erase out the parts i didn’t want blurred. Erasing parts of the top blurred layer will allow the original image (background layer) to show through.

Original image:
Photography Tips

Box Blur:
Box Blur Photoshop
I used a size 500 pixel eraser at 0% hardness and did a quick swipe to get this look. It’s artsy.

Motion Blur:
Motion Blur Photoshop
Motion blur, indeed, creates the look of motion. Really cool for buses, trains, bikes, and other moving things.

Radial Blur (set to zoom instead of spin):
Blurring Techniques for photographers
This is one of my favorite art blurs. It’s quite effective at producing a nice ‘wow’ factor. When erasing out the blur around the subject, i changed the flow of the eraser to 30%, for a better blend into the blur. I erased her face out 100%, but used a small eraser brush size.

And just for fun: Alien Skin Bokeh:
Fake Blur for Photos
This software does create a much more natural looking bokeh blur, plus, you can do other things like select your subject and blur the background, and much more. I love it.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson on how to easily turn a busy image into an art piece! I would love to hear from you in the comments below! What’s your favorite style of blur?

Post some of your newly blurred images on my facebook page!

Backlighting Quick Tip


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Shooting at sunset can create truly captivating images, but shooting into the sun can cause major lighting issues for your subject. Your subject is going to be in a shadow….  nearly a full silhouette if you expose to capture the sunset (it should be noted that I do love an occasional silhouette shot). If you expose to light up your subject, then your background gets completely lost and ‘whites out.’

(This quick tip is designed more for those with DSLR cameras with which you have full control over your ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed settings, though point-and-shoot cameras can benefit from this tip as well).

So what do you do when you want both the sunset and your subject visible in your image? Use a reflector. The professional, expensive photographer’s reflector? Not necessarily! I do not usually shoot with an assistant, so bringing my pro reflector with me doesn’t usually work. To improvise, I have been known to use a white or light colored blanket hung from a tree, a sheet of white paper, and at my last photo shoot, I had one of the family members in the party (who was wearing a white shirt) come stand next to the subject. Anything white will reflect light onto your subject beautifully.

As a side note: I also use reflecting objects to light subjects that are in shadows, to light up the other side of the subject’s face in a side-light situation, and sometimes even in that ‘perfect full-shade’ situation to give a bit of interest to the photo.

Here are some examples of what a make-shift reflector can do:

Backlighting Tips

Backlit Photo Advice

Backlit Photography Advice
She was inside a covered building, looking through a window. The window I was shooting through allowed in a little bit of light, but adding a reflector made this shot possible.

Photography Reflectors
Even though this wasn’t a back-lighting situation, you can still see how the white blanket lit up the baby’s face fully.

Photography Silhouettes
(Just an example of how exposing for the sky can be fun)

Backlit Photos | How to Backlit Photography | Back lighting photography | Using reflectors in photography

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Andrea reminds me of a Disney Princess. Her smile lights up any room or situation, and she offers it freely. What a beautiful spirit and example to me! I first saw her two years ago and my first thought was, “I want to take that girl’s picture.” Today, I got my wish. Thank you, Andrea!

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Photoshop Mentoring Colorado

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Heavenfest 2011

Heavenfest was a blast this year. Thank you to the leaders of Heavenfest for all of the work you put in – this festival pointed strait to Jesus in every way.

A few shots from the day – concert photography is very foreign to me and I still have a lot to learn about it. One of the main things I learned is that it’s hard to get a shot that’s not too ‘busy,’ so composition is key. Finding empty space to fill the backgrounds and using a good background blur really helps, as does positioning the artist in a unique place within the frame. Centered shots just weren’t as captivating.

Feel free to comment below with which image you think is best. I want to know what type of shot appeals to people!

Super Chick Concert Photography

RED Concert Photography

RED Band Concert Photos

Super Chick PHotos

Heavenfest PHotos
I learned to use the lights on stage to act sort of like the sunset… and who doesn’t like a good sunset shot?

Heavenfest Concert Photos

Skillet Concert Photos

Skillet Concert Pictures

Skillet Photos

Pictures of Skillet Band

Skillet is fun to watch to put it mildly. I had a teeth-baring, carefree smile the entire concert.

Trace Bundy Picture
He played a song with his iphone that literally sounded like an entire band. It was no cheap trick – our mouths were hanging open in awe. My husband said that song alone was worth the trip out.

Capo Stew Pictures
He uses 5 capos in this song, by the way. But who doesn’t, really.

Fun fun day. I look forward to the next concert i get the privilege of taking pictures at. I learned a lot and would gladly do it again!

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Portraits have been my main motivator for learning to photograph others. I love doing them. I love working one-on-one with someone to create something beautiful, in my eyes and hopefully in their eyes. I love being able to mold people and give them a moment to just reflect on who they are! I love being able to give people a glimpse of their beauty and hopefully show them that who God created them to be is not only good enough, but glorious!

Here are a few shots from my latest shoot with Jessika:

Portraits Broomfield Colorado

Colorado PHotographers

Portraits Denver Colorado

Broomfield Colrado Portrait Photographer

Broomfield Colorado Photographer

Portrait Photographer Colorado


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Photoshop Skills #2: Lightening Under-Eye Circles

Sometimes those under-eye bags can get a little out of control. I did a photo shoot once (where I was the subject, actually!) where I was laying down on my back looking back up at the camera from the floor. The circles under my eyes were so ridiculous, I felt like I looked 70 years old. I did this photoshop technique and it actually turned into my favorite picture of the bunch.

I’m going to tell you one of the many ways you can soften dark under-eye circles. You definitely do NOT want to eliminate them, or your subject will look puffy-eyed. Just soften. And only when the image really needs it.

The circles on this image aren’t even that bad, but for the sake of this tutorial, we will soften them anyway.
Airbrushing Photos

Step 1: Get your clone tool! The clone tool essentially takes a picture of one part of your photo and stamps it anywhere you choose. Most of the time (for blemishes, etc.), I use this tool in its original form. Today, we are going to change the blend mode and flow (you’ll see what I mean in a sec) for a different usage. Hit “s” as a shortcut to get the clone tool selected.

Note: The clone tool can take on many different shapes. You will probably need to change your stamp shape to a soft round brush, probably about 100 pixels wide depending on your image. Up at the top left of photoshop, there is a tiny arrow you can click on to select your brush shape and size (see picture below – just under file and edit is the brush shape and size drop down).

Step 2: Change the blend mode to “lighten” and the flow to 20%.
Dark Under-Eye Circles

Step 3: Alt+Click on a lighter section of cheekbone. Your clone tool just took a picture of that in the shape of your soft round brush.

Step 4: Let go of alt. Then go up under the eye and ‘sweep’ across the dark circle. The clone tool is basically putting the lighter cheekbone ‘picture’ onto the new spot you just swept across. With the “lighten” and 20% selected, it’s helping to blend it all into a perfectly believable, softened under-eye.
airbrushing-photos in photoshop

Just for fun: put your mode back to ‘normal’ and your flow back to 100% and try it again. You will see what the clone tool normally does. …..Now Ctl + Z to undo that, because your person looks silly and puffy now.

That’s it! Easy easy, and very effective. If you liked this tutorial, please visit my facebook page and share it with friends! I am trying to build followers which will hopefully build my photography business.

Here is the before/after final result (with a few other coloring tweaks and such):
Airbrushing PhotosUnder-eye circles photoshop tutorial

Remove under-eye circles in Photoshop | Photoshop tutorials | Under-eye bags Photoshop